As if the onslaught of the heat wasn’t enough, there’s another hazard Australians fear when the summer months arrive: flooding. According to a study done by the Insurance Council of Australia, 16 of the 20 most flood-affected federal seats lay in Queensland, while the remaining 4 were in New South Wales. In this scheme of flood-prone areas, Brisbane occupies the precarious spot of #11.
Floods are not to be taken lightly, as flood waters can be destructive and unpredictable. Aside from the immediate damage a flood can do to a property, there’s also the chance of acquiring dangerous diseases like typhoid, leptospirosis, and hepatitis A. As such, when the threat of a flood looms near your area, it’s best to take the three-part advice of the Queensland Government’s Fire and Emergency Services: (1) prepare to stay safe during flood season, (2) know the dangers associated with floods, and (3) turn around risky and ill-informed behaviours, such as driving through flood water.
What additional recourse should you and your family members seek if a flood is imminent? The following practical tips are provided below in the hope that precautions, real-time evacuation, and post-flood recovery will be easier on you and your loved ones.
- Contact your local council for any preemptive concerns related to the flood. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your local leadership for information that will be useful in the event, such as flood prone areas, directions to the nearest evacuation centre, and the contact details of the emergency response team. The local government likely has flood plans in place, and it would help to know about what they entail beforehand.
- Be ready to administer first aid if necessary. Floods are a catalyst for a score of illnesses and injuries. The most common cause of fatality during a flood is drowning, but lacerations and fractures are just as likely to occur. The quicker the response is to the victim, the better their chances of recovering after the flood. Thus, a good preemptive measure to complete before flood season is to learn important first aid techniques through a training course in Brisbane or in your locality. This can be your platform to practise dressing wounds, doing CPR, and the like.
- Prepare an emergency kit and a floor plan. Well ahead of time, you should also prepare an emergency kit with proper food and supplies to last at least 72 hours. The emergency kit should contain food, clean water, medicine, a flashlight, and a battery-powered radio. In addition, you can draft a floor plan that directs everyone in your household to the location of the kit, as well as where the “safe zones” and “danger zones” are in your house.
- Clear your path for easy movement and get to higher ground. As the water levels rise, it becomes more urgent to seek safety on higher ground. Be ready to move up as soon as news of the flood hits. To make the task easier on each member of your household, clear your home’s walkways, and tuck away rugs and furniture to spots where they won’t obstruct you. Don’t forget to turn off your home’s power, water, and gas as well.
- Transfer valuables to waterproof receptacles and keep them close to your person. Enjoin everyone to gather their cash, jewellery, documents (passports, certificates, insurance papers), gadgets, power sources, and other personal items of importance in one place. These can be sealed in waterproof casing and put in a backpack. Securing your valuables in this manner enables easy access to them and minimises the loss and inconvenience you might already be dealing with in the situation.
- Bring your pets with you. If you own pets, make sure that they are part of your emergency plan. Pack their leashes and pet food with you and lead them upstairs where you and your family will take refuge. By no means should you leave them tied up or caged outside, lest they get frightened, choke, or drown in the flood water.
- Follow all the instructions of your local community’s emergency services team. If the flood becomes so grave that you are evacuated by a disaster response team, cooperate with them every step of the way. Don’t go back home until you are cleared to do so, or until they cite the safest route to get back. Refrain from taking any detours on the road, and don’t try to drive in your vehicle if the flood waters are still waist deep.
As far as floods are concerned, it is always better to be safe than sorry—and always be willing to imagine the worst-case scenario, in case it actually unfolds. By preparing for flood season as early as possible, you are taking extra steps to keep your household safe, as well as the rest of your community.
*This article is for informational purposes only and does constitute, replace, or qualify as RPL for our first aid training courses.