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Malaysia grieves for Penang as media nationwide presents images of wrecked houses and roads, landslides, and the grim news of deaths for the past week. As ugly as it is, the nation faces flash floods on a regular basis, with a few cases escalating to critical situations. I’m sure many of us still remember when Kelantan was completely cut off for a while due to massive flooding, and the worst-hit Pahang flood that had over 7,000 evacuees.
Floods are among the most frequent and costly natural disasters. Apart from the physical damage to property, experiencing a flood can be taxing to your physical, mental, and emotional health. If you are not prepared for the possibility of a flood, recovery can be slow, stressful and costly.
We approached experts and gained useful information, tips and advice for us to be better prepared before a flood. Sharing is caring, so here they are!Build An Emergency Kit
The list suggested by the American Red Cross includes 3-gallons of water and non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food for at least three days. You should also pack a first aid kit, a flashlight, extra batteries, multi purpose tool kit, and a 7-day supply of medications. Don’t forget to carry important documents and extra cash in waterproof container.
You might not know this, but it’s better to text than to call during disaster strikes. Texts have a better chance of getting through and don’t tie up lines needed for emergencies. Make sure to write down contact information, neighbourhood meeting spots, and personal identification details and regulate this information to your family members. It’ll make everyone easier to find in case of an emergency.
Get Home Insurance
There’s a difference between a houseowner policy and a householder policy; the former only covers damage to the structure of the building and not the contents of your home, while the latter covers the contents of your home instead of it’s structure from many causes of damage.
Most good householder policies include damage caused by flood in their basic package, but it’s better to get a combined insurance that will cover for damage done both to the structure and the contents of the home. Check home insurance companies that offer full coverage equivalent to both policies in one insurance plan. Of course, premiums for the combined product will be higher than taking just one or the other. That said; your insurance probably will cover flood damage but to what extent will depend on what was agreed on in your policy.
Clear the Bottom
Basically, a decluttered home helps minimise the damage flooding will do to your house. Move small items and electronics of the floor and roll up your carpets. Place all appliances, including stove, washer and dryer on high blocks or concrete, so you don’t face danger (of getting electrocuted) and can avoid water damage to the appliances when there is any unsuspecting flash flood.
Turn off Power Supply
Quickly turn off your power supply once you are aware of an incoming flood. Disconnect all elecrical appliances to avoid surges and to ensure a safe route. Don’t try to turn on any power supply until the flood has fully subsided and the water has gone down to a safe level (not anywhere near the power supplies). Keep yourself safe first, your smartphones can always be charged later.
Lastly, pay attention to warnings! During rainy seasons, flash floods can happen anytime, so listen to the radio or television for information. You have to keep alert at all times and educate yourselves on flash flood information. For example, know the difference between flood watch and flood warning. A flood watch means a flash flood is possible in the area, because conditions are more favourable than usual for its occurrence. This is the time for planning, preparation, and increased awareness. A flood warning however means a flash flood is imminent or occurring, so you are to take immediate action to keep yourself and your family safe.