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What to do during flash floods?

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With reports of various dams in and around Gauteng reaching full capacity, there might be a chance of localised flooding around the dams and rivers.

Heavy rainfall also contributes to smaller rivers and low lying areas to fill up quickly, leaving dangerous conditions across large parts of Gauteng.

In the last couple of weeks, ER24 paramedics responded to several incidents in and around Johannesburg, after receiving reports of severe flooding. Below are some tips that we at ER24 urge all the members of the public to take note of.

A flash flood is a rapid flooding of a low-lying area. It may be caused by heavy rain associated with a severe thunderstorm, hurricane or even a tropical storm. Flash floods are distinguished from regular floods by a timescale of less than six hours. You will not always have a warning that these deadly, sudden floods are coming. So, if you live in areas prone to flash floods, plan accordingly to protect your family and property.

Keep an eye out for weather warnings, radio announcements and news articles. Only trust warnings from verified sources and do not distribute warnings circulating on WhatsApp and other social media channels that cannot be verified. These warnings cause unnecessary panic and may cause further harm.

Below is a list of tips.

Your home:

  • Keep emergency numbers and important information handy. Also keep emergency supplies such as water, canned food, a can opener, battery-operated radio, flashlight and protective clothing ready.
  • Keep a first aid kit.
  • Turn off all your household electrical devices.
  • Lock all doors and windows.
  • Leave the area before it gets too late. Get to higher ground.

Should you be outdoors or in your vehicle, do the following:

  • Climb to higher ground and stay there.
  • Avoid walking through floodwaters – even 15 centimetres deep can sweep you off your feet.
  • If floodwaters rise around your car but the water is not moving, abandon the car and move to higher ground.
  • Never drive through a flooded road or low-water bridge as the road may be washed away.
  • If you get swept away in the flood waters, try to grab onto anything you can to pull yourself to safety.
  • Getting swept away while inside your vehicle can be extremely dangerous. If you are stuck inside your vehicle, roll down the windows and open the doors to allow water into your vehicle. Doing this will equal the pressure on both sides of the door, allowing you to escape your vehicle.

By following these few tips, you will be prepared in the event of a flash flood and remember, call 084124 for in case of an emergency.

Please note that the above statement is by no means a warning of imminent flooding. The contents herein is provided as awareness and as a precautionary measure.

 

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