There are many reasons why flood-prone buildings need to be evacuated. Before evacuating, it’s important to check the structure of the building to determine if there is a risk of collapse. Also, floodwaters can damage electrical and gas lines, causing the building to become unsafe to occupy. If you are stranded in a building, avoid going to work, school, or visiting friends. If you are not sure what to do, you can always contact a local disaster agency and get the instructions to evacuate. Another important step to take is to turn off utilities to help minimize traffic.
Before you leave the flooded area, make sure that you know the locations of all the mechanical systems and electrical systems in the building. The basement is the most vulnerable and should be protected by a water pump, if it exists. If the basement is flooded, make sure that all water outlets are disconnected and protected before leaving. If the basement contains a pump, it’s particularly important to protect it before flooding reaches it. If the pump is not accessible, you’ll be without water for a long time.
After you evacuate, remember that the floodwaters are contaminated, which makes it more dangerous to stay in the area. If the building has plumbing, it’s best to shut off the water supply and contact your water company. If a flood has ruined your building’s pipes, you should never attempt to drink the water from a tap. The water in the pipe can contain bacteria and germs. You can even be exposed to these if you eat contaminated food.
Besides being a safety hazard, being stranded in a flooded building poses a number of health risks. Being stranded inside a building will not only hinder rescue efforts, but you could also be at risk of infection. If you have pets or elderly relatives, the flood waters will affect their immune systems. During this period, you need to be especially careful in these situations.
Those with asthma, lung conditions, or other illnesses should not stay in flooded buildings. They may put themselves at risk by being present when the flood waters are rising. Some of these factors include contaminated water, crumbling roads, and mudflows. If you are unable to leave the building, you should call 911 and seek out emergency services. If possible, evacuate your home and take your pets with you.
If possible, evacuating a building can help the rescuers. People who stay in a flooded building will hinder the rescue efforts. They are also at risk of the residual effects of floods, including contaminated waters, downed power lines, and mudflows. Aside from evacuating the building, they should also be careful to avoid snakes and other invasive animals.
If you live in a flood-prone area, it’s important to take pictures of the damage and inspect the building’s structure. Additionally, a photo of the damage can help you claim insurance if necessary. The National Disaster Education Coalition has produced a guide called Why Flooded Buildings Should Be Evacuated Immediately to Protect Human Life and Property. If your home is located in a flood-prone area, it might be hard to rescue occupants.