Flood water precautions

WARNING: Safety tips ahead.

Pieter Rudolph, senior district manager for the Emergency Planning Disaster and Emergency Management Services (DEMS) in Ekurhuleni, says it is very importance that communities be made aware of the dangers associated with flash flood water, especially during severe thunderstorms accompanied by heavy downpours.

Following the current heavy downpours experienced in Ekurhuleni, DEMS is on high alert for any eventualities subsequent to flooding.

DEMS and the South African Weather Service would like to share the following safety tips:Severe Thunderstorms:

* If outdoors, seek shelter immediately but do not seek shelter under a tree, under telephone and/or power lines, on hilltops, in isolated sheds, under unprotected gazebo’s or at picnic shelters.

* If there is a group of low trees separate from high trees, you can hide under the low trees. If the tree is alone or higher than the others stay away from it.

* Avoid being near metal objects, such as fences, golf carts, telephone or power lines, and steel structures, such as pylons and windmills. Do not hold any metal objects, use any electrical appliances, use the telephone or take a bath or shower.

* Do not play sport during thunderstorms. Golfers and fishermen are at high risk.

* If possible, stay indoors well clear of windows, shelter pets, cover vehicles and disconnect electrical appliances.

* Find shelter in a building or vehicle.

* Unplug all electrical equipment that is not extremely important, including computers.

* Close curtains and windows. If the glass should break, the curtain will protect you against flying pieces.


* When walking, do not attempt to cross flowing streams. Remember that it takes only about 15cm of rushing water to knock an adult off their feet.

* Do not ignore barricades.

* If flooding begins in your area, go to higher ground immediately.

* When driving, always be aware that the road bed under flood waters may be severely damaged. Never drive through flooded roadways. Remember that it takes only two feet of water to carry away a vehicle, including bakkies and SUVs.

* Do not drive through standing water on roads or in parking lots.

* The average car can be swept off the road in about 5cm of moving water, and roads covered by water are prone to collapse. Attempting to drive through water may stall your engine, with the potential to cause irreparable damage if you try to restart the engine. If you come upon a flooded street, take an alternate route.

* If your vehicle stalls, get out immediately and go to higher ground.

* Be extra cautious at night, when it is harder to see possible flood dangers.

* These four words could save your life: Turn around, don’t drown.

* Listen to the radio or television for warnings and obey the instructions from disaster management officers.

Below are the emergency numbers to call in the event of an emergency:

The Ekurhuleni DEMS emergency number: 011 458 0911 (paid line).

National emergency number: 10177.

Cellphone emergency number: 112.

David Pienaar

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