What are YOU going to do about A FLOOD?
Floods are the most common natural disaster. Some floods develop over a period of several days, but a flash flood can cause raging waters in just a few minutes! Mudflows are another danger triggered by flooding that can bury villages without warning (especially in mountainous regions).
Everyone is at risk from floods and flash floods, even in areas that seem harmless in dry weather. Always listen to the radio or TV to hear the latest updates.
Learn risks – Ask your Local Authority if your property is a -flood-prone- or high risk area and what you can do to mitigate(reduce risks to) your property and home. Find out what official flood warning signals are and what to do when you hear them. Also ask if there are dams in your area and if they could be a hazard.
Be ready to evacuate – Listen to local authorities and leave if you are told to evacuate.
Make a plan – Develop a Family Emergency Plan and Disaster Supplies Kit.
Learn to shut off – know where and how to shut off electricity, gas and water at main switches and valves – and ask local utilities for instructions.
DURING A FLOOD (OR HEAVY RAIN):
Get additional information on floods here
Be aware – Listen to local news and watch for flash floods especially if near streams, drainage channels, and areas known to flood.
Get to higher ground – If in low-lying area, move to higher ground.
Prepare to evacuate
* Secure your home and move important items to upper floors.
* Turn off utilities at main switches or valves if instructed by authorities and DO NOT touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water!
* Fill up your car with fuel.
Obey warnings – If road signs, barricades, or cones are placed in areas , OBEY THEM. DO NOT drive around barricades- find another way to get where you are going!
AFTER A FLOOD (OR HEAVY RAIN):
Things to avoid:
* Flood waters – stay away from flood waters since may be contaminated by oil, gasoline or raw sewage or may be electricity charges from underground or downed power lines – wait for local authorities to approve returning to flooded areas
* Moving water – 6 inches (15 cm) of moving water can knock you off your feet and 2 ft (0.6 m) of moving water can float a car
* Flooded areas – roadways and bridges may be washed-out or weakened
* Downed power lines – extremely dangerous and report them to the power company
Strange critters – Watch out for snakes and other wildlife in areas that were flooded. Don’t try to care for a wounded critter since it may try to attack you -call your local animal control office or animal shelter.
Flooded food -Throw away food that has come in contact with flood waters since eating it can make you sick.
Drinking water – Wait for officials to advise when water from your tap is safe to drink.
Wash your hands – Wash hands often with clean water and soap since flood waters are dirty and full of germs.
Use bleach – The best thing to use for cleaning flooded areas is household bleach since it will help kill germs.
Listen – continue listening to your battery-powered radio for updates on weather and tips on getting assistance for housing, clothing, food, etc.
FAMILY EMERGENCY PLAN CHECKLIST
The next time disaster strikes, you may not have much time to act and local first responders may not be able to reach you right away. PREPARE NOW for a sudden emergency and discuss these ideas with your entire family to create a Family Emergency Plan.
Even though this checklist looks long and scary, it is easy to do and can help you make a plan. We suggest you and your family review this list.
PLEASE make some time in your busy lives to prepare for a disaster – a few minutes now could possibly save a life when a disaster hits!
Remember – be aware – be prepared – and have a plan!
TIPS ON MAKING YOUR FAMILY PLAN:
* Meet with household members to talk about the dangers of flooding, fire, drought, and other emergencies. Explain how to respond to each using the tips from this website (www.cdc.gy).
* Find the safe spots in your home for each type of disaster.
* Talk about what to do when there are power outages and injuries.
* Draw a floor plan of your home. Using a black pen, show the locations of doors, windows, stairways and large furniture. Mark locations of emergency supplies, disaster kits, fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, collapsible ladders, first aid kits and utility shut- off points. Next, use a coloured pen to draw a broken line charting at least two escape routes from each room.
* Show family members how to turn off water, gas and electricity at the main switches when necessary.
* Post emergency telephone numbers near telephones.
* Teach children how and when to call 9-1-1, police and fire departments.
* Make sure household members understand they should turn on the radio for emergency information.
* Pick two meeting places in case you can’t go home.
o A place near your home
o A place outside the neighbourhood
* Teach children emergency phone numbers and meeting places.
* Take a basic first aid and CPR class.
* Practice emergency evacuation drills with all household members at least two times each year.
* Keep family records in a water- and fire-proof container. Consider keeping another set of records in a safety deposit box offsite.
TIPS FOR ELDERLY AND DISABLED FAMILY MEMBERS:
* Ask about special aid that may be available in an emergency for elderly and disabled family members. Find out if assistance is available for evacuation and in public shelters. Many communities ask people with disability to register with local fire departments or emergency management office so help can be provided quickly in an emergency. Check if this available in your community!
* Ask children’s teachers and caregivers about emergency plans for schools day care centres and nursing homes.
* If you currently have a personal care attendant from an agency, check to see iof the agency will be providing services at another location if there is an evacuation – and tell family members.
* Learn what to do for each type of emergency. For example, basements are not wheelchair-accessible so you should have alternate safe places for different types of disasters for disabled or elderly persons.
* Learn what to do in case of power outages and personal injuries. Know how to connect or start a back-up power supply for essential medical equipment!
* If someone in the home uses a wheelchair, make sure 2 exits are wheelchair-accessible in case one exit is blocked.
* Consider getting a medical alert system that will allow you to call for help if you have trouble getting around.
* Both elderly and disabled persons should wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace at all times if they have special needs.
* Consider setting up a “buddy” system with a roommate, neighbour or friend. Give this person a copy of your Family Emergency Plan phone numbers and keep them updated of any changes. Give “buddy” an extra house key or tell them where one is available.
* Consider putting a few personal items in a lightweight drawstring bag (e.g. a whistle, some medications, a small flashlight, extra hearing aid batteries, etc.) and tie it to your wheelchair or walker for emergencies. Make sure to rotate items so current and working.
* Visit the National Commission on Disability website to learn more about emergency Preparedness issues at www.ncd.org.gy.
FIRST AID KITS
You should always be prepared and keep a First Aid Kit in your home and in every car and make sure everyone knows where kits are and how to sue them. And if you like the outdoors (hiking, biking, etc.) you should carry a small kit in your fanny pack or backpack as a precaution.
There are many different sizes of First Aid Kits on the market that vary in price. You can make sure your own kits using things that may already be in your home. Consider including the following items in a waterproof container or bag so you can be prepared for almost any type of emergency!
“We realize there are a lot of items suggested here, but the more you prepare” the better off you and your family will be during a disaster.
Items to include in First Aid Kit
* Ace bandage(s)
* Adhesive bandage strips in assorted sizes
* Adhesive tape
* Antibiotic ointment or gel
* Antiseptic towelettes
* Assorted sizes safety pins
* Box of baking soda
* Cleansing agent(isopropyl alcohol, hydrogen peroxide and /or soap
* Cold pack
* Contact lens solution and eyewash solution
* Cotton and Cotton swabs
* Dental repair kit (usually near toothpaste section)
* Disposable Face Shield for Rescue Breathing
* Disposable gloves
* Flashlight and batteries – check often to make sure it works and batteries are good(Tip: remove batteries while stored but keep together)
* Gauze pads
* Heat pack
* Hydrogen peroxide
* Lip balm (one with SPF is best)
* Moleskin (for blisters on feet)
* Petroleum jelly or other lubricant
* Plastic bags
* Roller gauze
* Small bottle of hand lotion
* Snake bite kit with extractor
* Sunscreen ( choose one between SPF 15 and SPF 30)
* Triangular bandages
Non prescription drugs to include in First Aid Kit
* Activated charcoal (used if advised by the Poison Control Centre)
* Antacid (for upset stomach)
* Anti-diarrhoea medication
* Antihistamine and decongestant (for allergic reactions or allergies and sinus problems)
* Aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen and naproxen sodium
* Potassium Iodide
* Syrup of ipecac (e.g. a good multiple, vitamins C & E, garlic pills or zinc [boosts immune sys], L-tyrosine [amino acid for stress], etc.)
TOOLS AND EMERGENCY SUPPLIES
Items that may come in handy if you have to evacuate or if stuck at home without power.
* Aluminium foil and resealable plastic bags
* Battery-operated radio and extra batteries (remember to check batteries every 6 months).
* Battery-operated travel alarm clock
* Cash or traveller’s check and some change
* CD-Rom (can be used as a reflector to signal planes if stranded)
* Extra copy of IT’S A DISASTER! Manual
* Flashlight and extra batteries and extra bulbs (check every 6 months)
* Fire extinguisher: small canister, ABC type
* Manual can opener and a utility knife
* Map of the area (to help locate shelters)
* Matches in a waterproof container and candles
* Medicine dropper (e.g. measure bleach to purify water, etc.)
* Needles and thread
* Paper, pencil (store in baggies to keep dry)
* Paper cups, plates, plastic utensils (or Mess Kits) and paper towels
* Plastic sheet (for shelter, lean-to, or sealing room during chemical / hazardous material alert)
* Tape (plastic and duct)
* Signal flare
* Small shovel or towel
* Sterno or small camp stove and mini propane bottle
* Wrench (to turn off household gas and water)
* Whistle (can be used to call for help in an emergency)
* Work gloves