Although flash floods are rare, when they occur, they can wreak havoc. Following the latest flash floods in Johannesburg, it’s easy to see how quickly a torrent can occur and the extreme dangers it holds. It’s important to understand what a flash flood is and what to do to keep you and your loved ones safe if you find yourself in a dangerous situation.
What is a flash flood?
A flash flood is a rapid flooding of a low-lying area. It may be caused by heavy rain associated with a severe thunderstorm, hurricane or even a tropical storm. Flash floods are distinguished from regular floods by a timescale of less than six hours. You will not always have a warning that these deadly, sudden floods are coming. So, if you live areas prone to flash floods, plan accordingly in order to protect your family and property.
ER24 responded to numerous incidents over the last few days as the heavy rainfall left motorists and homeowners stranded. The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH), have provided important tips and information that may just save your life.
Flash flooding – Important tips you need to know
- Keep emergency numbers and important information handy. You should also keep emergency supplies like water, canned food, a can opener, battery operated radio, flashlight and protective clothing ready.
- Ensure that your first-aid kit is fully stocked
- When there are signs of lightning and thunder, turn off and unplug all your household electrical devices
- Lock all doors and windows
- Leave the area before the flooding rises too high. Get to higher ground.
If you find yourself outdoors or in your vehicle:
- Climb to higher ground and stay there
- Avoid walking through floodwaters – even 15cm deep can sweep you off your feet
- If floodwaters rise around your car, but the water is not moving, abandon the car and move to higher ground
- Never drive through a flooded road
- If you get swept away in the flood waters, try to grab onto anything you can to pull yourself to safety
- If your car is swept into the water and submerged, don’t panic! Stay calm and try to get out through a window. Otherwise, wait for the vehicle to fill with water. Once the vehicle is full, the doors will be able to open and you can swim up to the surface.
While these tips will help you and your family stay safe during a flash flood, being stuck next to the side of the road can also prove to be a stressful experience, especially if you are alone.
Matrix is always right by your side to get you the assistance you need. Alert the Matrix control room of your situation by pressing your panic button remote* or by calling the control room on 011 654 8090. Trained personnel will assess your situation and send the necessary assistance to your exact location**.
For more information about our features and safety offerings, visit us at www.matrix.co.za or contact Matrix Customer Care on 011 654 8090.
The Matrix Team
*MX2 &MX3 customers only
*Roadside Assistance for MX3 customers only