Case Study

The massive flooding from incessant heavy rains in August 2012 left almost a hundred people dead and half a million displaced. Colleagues and their families were among the victims whose homes were inundated and had to be rescued. It is common knowledge that these heavy rains and floods recur almost each year. It would be prudent therefore to revisit the precautionary measures one can take during this rainy season to avoid or mitigate the negative impact of floods. Likewise, it would be wise to review one’s awareness of the actions that can be taken when already overcome by rising floodwaters.

What are these measures and actions?

Proactive Measures

  • If you live in a low-lying area, you are flood-prone. Have a Plan B (or even C) – an alternate address  where you can quickly evacuate your family to in case of heavy, unceasing downpour.
  • This contingency plan should include provisions for pre stocked-up extra food, water, clothing, flashlight or candles, matches or lighter, maintenance medicines, and first aid kit in each of these locations that are good for a few days.
  • Procure enough life vests or flotation devices for you and your family members and place these where they are accessible during emergencies. The chances of survival are upped exponentially if people are able to keep their heads above water during floods.
  • Have a map of your place and your alternate address, and know how to navigate your way between the two (or three) using various routes.
  • Plan for multiple communication tools (i.e. landline, mobile, social media, messenger, etc.). Unhampered communication is very essential during emergencies.
  • Monitor the news so you can take preemptive action.

Reactive Measures

  • Be prompt to leave even your home when you have to. Floodwaters may rise very quickly and the roads you will be navigating to get out may themselves be flooded if you decide too late.
  • If necessary, promptly call for help while your cell phone batteries are still full or while you still have access to your landline. Wyeth security has its own contingencies to rescue colleagues if need be apart from government resources which quickly become over-extended during disaster response.
  • Immediately seek higher ground and stay there until the waters subside.
  • If inside your car, often it is better to stay inside where you have protection instead of getting out on the street where rushing waterborne debris can be a threat.
  • Momentarily cut-off power when water enters your house.
  • Use the life vests and flotation devices to keep above water.