Civil Defense – Get Flood Prepared

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Floods happen often in New Zealand and can cause a lot of damage and loss of life. Find out what to do before, during and after flooding.

What to do during a flood

Put safety first. Don’t take any chances. Act quickly if you see rising water.

Floods and flash floods can happen quickly. If you see rising water do not wait for official warnings. Head for higher ground and stay away from floodwater.

Stay out of flood water

Never try to walk, swim or drive through flood water. Many flood fatalities are caused by people attempting to drive through water.

Always assume that flood water is contaminated with farm run-off, chemicals and sewage. Contaminated flood water can make you sick. Make sure you wash your hands, clothes and property after contact with flood waters.

If flooding is possible:

Stay informed. Listen to the radio or follow your Civil Defence Emergency Management Group online.

Be prepared to evacuate and keep your grab bag near. Listen to emergency services and local Civil Defence authorities. Follow any instructions about evacuation of your area. Self-evacuate if you feel unsafe.

Move pets to a safe place and move stock to higher ground. If you have to leave, take your pets with you. If it’s not safe for you, it’s not safe for them.

Turn off water, electricity and gas if advised to.

Move valuable and dangerous items as high above the floor as possible. This includes electrical equipment and chemicals. Use watertight containers to store important items.

Lift curtains, rugs and bedding off the floor.

Check on your neighbours and anyone who may need your help.

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Cleaning up after a flood

Clean and dry your house and everything in it. Floodwater can make the air in your home unhealthy. When things get wet for more than two days they usually get mouldy. There may also be germs and bugs in your home after a flood.

Mould may make some people with asthma, allergies or other breathing problems sick.

Talk to your doctor or another medical professional if you have questions about cleaning or working in a home that has been flooded. If there is a large amount of mould, you may want to hire professional help to clean up the mould.

Protect yourself by wearing:

  • a certified respirator
  • goggles
  • gloves
  • protective clothing that covers your arms and legs, and
  • sturdy footwear.

Throw away anything that was wet with flood water and can’t be cleaned.

Throw away any wooden spoons, plastic utensils, and baby bottle teats and dummies if they have been covered by floodwater. There is no way to safely clean them.

Disinfect metal pans and utensils by boiling them in clean water.