There are a number of things you can do to protect yourself before, during and after a flood:
- Learn about your flood risk from your local council.
- Develop a Flood Emergency Plan.
- Invite the State Emergency Service to present an awareness and education program to your community group.
- Put together an Emergency Kit which includes:
- A battery-operated or wind-up radio;
- A battery-operated or wind-up torch;
- Spare batteries;
- A first aid kit;
- Rubber gloves and strong leather or garden gloves;
- Mobile phone and charger;
- A waterproof bag or container;
- A good supply of medicines and prescriptions;
- Strong shoes or boots;
- A copy of your Emergency Plan;
- Special items for any vulnerable people, such as babies or the disabled; and
- Enough non-perishable food and water for every person (and pets).
Understand the warnings
Understand the Flood Warnings issued by the Bureau of Meteorology:
An Alert, Watch or Advice of possible flooding
Flood-producing rain is expected in the near future. The general weather forecasts may also refer to “flood-producing rain”.
Generalised Flood Warning
Flooding is occurring or is expected to occur in a particular region. No information on the severity of flooding or the particular location of the flooding is provided. These types of warnings are issued for areas where no specialised warnings systems have been installed. As part of its Severe Weather Warning Service, the Bureau also provides warnings for severe storm situations that may cause flash flooding. In some areas, the Bureau is working with local councils to install systems to provide improved warnings for flash flood situations.
Warnings of 'Minor', 'Moderate' or 'Major' flooding
These warnings may be issued in areas where the Bureau has installed specialised warning systems. In these areas, the flood warning message will identify the locations expected to be flooded, the likely severity of the flooding and when it is likely to occur.
Expected river height
Predictions of the expected height of a river, either at a town or other important locations along a river, and the time that this height is expected to be reached. This type of warning is normally the most useful in that it allows local emergency authorities and people in the area to more precisely determine the area and likely depth of the flooding. This type of warning can only be provided where there are specialised flood warning systems and where flood forecasting models have been developed.
- For the most up-to-date warnings go to TasALERT, your local ABC radio or the Bureau of Meteorology’s website.
- Check that family and neighbours are safe and aware of what’s happening.
- Bring pets inside.
- Place important papers, photos, identification and valuables into your Emergency Kit.
- NEVER walk, play, ride or drive in floodwater. You can’t always see what is under the water or how deep or fast-moving the water is. It is easy to be swept away and drown in as little as 20cm of fast-moving water.
- Keep people, particularly children, clear of flooded areas such as drains.
- Beware of fallen powerlines.
Leaving during a flood / evacuation
Tasmania Police may advise people in at-risk areas to prepare for evacuation.
Police aim to keep you safe, so it is important to follow this advice. Act early, as conditions can change rapidly. Roads may be closed, and escape routes change.
If you leave:
- Turn off the electricity, gas and water at the mains.
- Take your Emergency Kit.
- Take your pets with you.
- Move to friends or family in safer areas, or to an Evacuation Centre if advised by authorities. Wherever you go, let others know.
- Keep listening for radio updates, road re-openings, community meetings, etc.
- If you were evacuated, do not return home until authorities tell you it is safe.
- Be aware of road hazards, such as mud or debris on the road, damaged roads/bridges or crews working on clean-up and repairs.
- If you have been affected by the flood:
- Do not turn on your gas and electricity until you are sure it is safe to do so.
- Have all wiring, gas and electrical equipment tested by an electrician.
- If entering flood-affected buildings, use a torch, never matches or candles.
- Floodwaters pick up sewage and chemicals, so wear strong boots, gloves and other protective clothing during the clean-up.
- Boil all drinking water until authorities say the water supply is back to normal.
For further information go to www.ses.tas.gov.au