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Dangers of Flood Damage

It’s no secret that floods can occur anywhere and at any time, or that flood damage can be devastating to life and property.  We saw a vivid reminder of that this weekend in Australia, where a driver was swept away in their car by raging flood waters, with his body recovered several hours later.   Floods can be lethal, but the good news is that exercising some common sense can go a long way towards preventing these lethal outcomes.  Proper water restoration cleanup may also help preserve homes and businesses damaged by flooding.

In many cases, floods develop over a period of days, usually as the result of heavy rainfall, or just steady rainfall over an extended period of time.  Much of the time, you will have adequate warning in advance of a flood problem, allowing you to get to higher ground before things get serious.

In some cases, though, flash floods may develop, forming over a matter of hours or even minutes and providing very little advanced warning.  Flash floods are easily the most dangerous type of flooding and are responsible for the most injuries and fatalities every year.

In the event of a flood warning, don’t wait….get to higher ground as fast as you can.  If it is a flash flood, you may only have a matter of minutes to save your life.  Don’t worry about trying to salvage valuables….they can be replaced, and nothing is worth your life.

Be careful when driving through flooded areas.  As we saw in Australia, most flood deaths occur with people who are unable to get out of their vehicle.  If you come across an area where flood waters cross a roadway, do not attempt to cross it.  It may be that the road has been washed away, and what looks like a shallow stream may actually be several feet deep.  You also should not attempt to walk across this area.  It only takes six inches of moving water to knock a grown man off his feet, and two feet of water can cause a full sized car to float.

If you should find yourself trapped in a vehicle due to flooding, don’t panic.  That is easier said than done, I know, but it is important for your survival.  Don’t waste your strength trying to open the door, as the weight of the water against the door will make that impossible.  Instead, roll down a window and escape through the window.  If for whatever reason the window will not roll down, then wait for the vehicle to fill with water…the pressure should equalize, making it easier to open the door and escape.  Granted, by this point you’ve got the Grim Reaper close enough to read fine print over your shoulder, but you’re also fresh out of options.  In any case, it is important to keep your head.

If you find yourself in rushing flood waters, lay on your back and cross your arms across your chest, and ride it out until you reach calmer waters.  You should then be able to swim to safety.  No, the odds are not in your favor, but if you are at this point, you have little to lose by trying.

In the aftermath of a flood, call your local, Clean Trust certified flood damage and water restoration professionals.

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