Testing times for Kashmir approach and spring is onset. Sometimes it is bloodshed, well most of the times it is bloodshed and sometimes it is flash floods, earthquakes, and other natural disasters.
As always, we fight and we rise. We rise above whatever tries to bring us down.
2014 ravaged us with floods and scores of volunteers emerged who saved most of the people while the administration was itself caught wrongfooted.
2016 ravaged us with an even bigger disaster, an even bigger number of volunteers emerged who would stand in the long queues to donate blood to the victims, arrange meals for the needy, and they even managed to give pellet victims haircuts.
2017, the water levels are already above the danger mark.
Team With Kashmir brings you a checklist of do’s and don’t’s while we all prepare for possible, God forbid, worst case scenarios.
- First and foremost, stay calm and do not panic. Do not pay heed to rumours. We observe many pages are sharing pictures of 2014 floods.
- You know your locality the best, do not rely on the administration for anything.
- Arrange meet-ups in your locality.
- Have a flood plan within your community, i.e. how to use flood protection products like sandbags in vulnerable areas to prevent damage.
- Youth, yes you youth – saviours of our nation, keep in touch with each other from neighbouring mohallas and communicate as and when needed.
- Every mohalla has its strengths and weaknesses. Some lanes are more vulnerable than the others; some families are needier than others. Identify your strengths and weaknesses and do the needful. All in coordination.
In addition to having an emergency kit in your house, there are a few other things that we want to tell you TO DO AT YOUR HOME and what to be prepared for in case of flooding:
- The first priority is safety – yours and your family – but keep an eye on your elderly or disabled neighbours and be sure that they are aware of the danger, too.
- Stay informed about what’s going on in your area and listen to the announcements. Do not rely on the administration for any action though.
- If you live in the catchment areas and are told to evacuate, do it.
- If you don’t evacuate and you choose to stay indoors, move to the upper floors, but keep in mind that you’ll need some food and water stockpiled up there, too. Also be prepared to live in that space without power for a while.
- Turn off all of your electrical and gas appliances. Utilities should be shut off at the mains.
- The important items(documents, etc.) must be moved to safer areas, like the upper floor or as high as possible off the floor.
While we are very hopeful that the weather only improves from here, here’s a checklist you need to be aware of and apply it after the things settle down.
- Wear solid work gloves and boots when evacuating or when working in a post-flood environment.
- After flooding, verify the structural damage inflicted upon your house, especially the most vulnerable areas like ceilings and roofs, since they may be subject to collapse at any time.
- Everything that got wet during flooding should be disinfected and cleaned thoroughly because the residue from floodwater may contain chemicals, sewage, and a wide variety of other disease-causing bacteria.
- Cesspools, septic tanks, pits and the like should be inspected ASAP after a flooding; if damaged, the sewage systems can create serious health risks.
Now, a short check-list of DON’Ts during a flood:
- Stay away from moving water and downed power lines or poles. Don’t try to walk through flood water and if you must, be very careful and use a stick to test the depth and feel for debris that can cause you to fall.
- Avoid driving through flood water because it can be dangerous. Just one foot of fast flowing water can make your car float, not to mention the hidden dangers like fallen power lines or trees.
- Avoid touching flood water, as it may be contaminated with chemical substances, sewage, etc.
- Never swim through floodwater for the same reasons. Also, you can easily drown in fast moving waters or you can be hit by a hidden object and knocked out, which can be fatal.
- Do not return home until you know for a fact that it’s safe to do so.
- Do not turn on your utilities until the installations are checked by a specialist. Use flashlights instead.
- Do not try to handle electrical equipment or appliances in humid areas or in standing water.
- Avoid using your TV if it sits on a wet carpet or floor or on humid concrete floors. The basic rule is that water and electricity don’t mix!
- Do not enter buildings that are surrounded by floodwaters.
These are just a few hints and suggestions to help you make it safely through a flood. As with all emergencies, use your head and let common sense prevail.
If you don’t know whether an area is safe or not, stay away from it until you know that it is.
If you have any other tips or flooding advice, please feel free to share it with us in the comments section below.
Share this checklist to spread awareness. Awareness is the key.