Published on: 8.5.2020

Information produced by Flood Centre

Quick start guide for a flood Tulvatilanne kuvituskuva

If you know what to do when a flood strikes, you can prevent and mitigate the damage it causes. What should you do when a flood is imminent?

The key is looking after your and your family’s safety. Floodwaters can flow with unexpected force and displace sewer covers and similar items. This is why going into floodwaters should be avoided, and you should never drive your car through a flood, even if it looks shallow.

When there is a threat of a flood, you should plan your escape route from the affected area, perhaps by having a boat standing by. If you cannot get to safety without help, call the emergency number 112.

What you should do:

  • Listen to and comply with the authorities’ bulletins, alerts, instructions and communication.
  • Stay away from floodwaters as they may be contaminated. Wash your hands if necessary.
  • Watch out for flowing floodwaters – fast-flowing water can knock you over even if it is no deeper than 15 centimetres.
  • Drive carefully. A flood may cut off roads, fill underpasses with water and wash away road structures or bridges.
  • Never drive onto a flooded road. It only takes 45 to 60 centimetres of water to float the car and carry it into deeper water, putting the passengers at risk of drowning. If you cannot start the engine, leave the car and look for higher ground.
  • Block sewers, culverts and drains, build a temporary protective embankment around your house, or wrap the lower part of the house in plastic, and use a pump to keep the inside of the embankment free of water.
  • If floodwaters rise to an alarming level, turn the electricity off at the main switch, and unplug or protect any electrical equipment at risk. Do not touch wet electrical equipment.
  • Close all gas and oil heating valves.
  • Do not use lifts, as taking the lift to a flooded basement may put your life at risk.
  • If possible, take pictures of the flooding and damage; this will speed up your insurance claim process.
  • If you cannot get to safety on your own, call 112, give your location and ask for help.

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