Flooding Precautions

Certain parts of Trinidad & Tobago get flood due to the landscape, this page taken from the Express,
gives hints on how to protect your home from a flood.

Before a flood

  • Before building, check the area for signs or history of flooding and find out how many feet above flood level you need to build your house.
  • Do not throw garbage into drains and rivers.
  • Put sandbags by exposed openings.
  • Turn off gas and electricity. Unplug electrical appliances.
  • Put dangerous, flammable or explosive liquids in a safe place and close containers securely.
  • Seal important personal, legal and business documents in watertight containers and place above flood height.
  • Take furniture to upper floors or raise on a sturdy table.
  • Secure vehicles.
  • Have the following important supplies ready

  • Food and drinking water.
  • First-aid equipment and medication.
  • Put sandbags by exposed openings.
  • Bucket, cloth and scrubbers.
  • Digging tools (spade or shovel).
  • Flashlights and batteries.
  • Covers and blankets.
  • Wooden planks, hammer and nails.
  • Waterproofing materials: sandbags, plastic sheeting and lumber.
  • During a flood

  • Turn on a battery-powered radio.
  • Evacuate and avoid flooded areas.
  • Do not try to cross water courses.
  • If your car gets stuck, abandon it immediately.
  • Source: Sunday, November 28, 2004 Express, (edited)

    The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) has outlined tips to assist citizens before, during and after flooding events, which can be caused by intense rainfall from thunderstorms, prolonged rainfall, poor drainage, clogged drains and high tides that coincide with river flooding in low-lying areas.

    Following are those guidelines:

    Before Flooding - Have the following supplies ready at a safe place:

  • Drinking water (See box)
  • Food
  • First Aid/Hygiene Kit
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Portable radio and extra batteries
  • A fully charged cellular phone if you own one
  • Shovel
  • Saw
  • Hammer
  • Wooden planks
  • Nails
  • Sand bags
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Have a plan using plastic sheeting and sand bags to seal doorways to prevent water entering your home. Plastic sheeting and sand bags are available at most hardware stores.
  • Move vehicles to high ground
  • Move important documents to upper floor and/or put in water-tight container
  • Tie down containers with inflammable or combustible material.
  • During the Flooding:

  • Listen to a portable radio.
  • Move belongings to an upper floor or to safe ground if time permits.
  • Move appliances off floor level.
  • Turn off electricity and gas. Turn off gas at the tank and electricity at the mains switch.
  • Avoid areas that you know flood easily. Release animals and poultry.
  • Keep children indoors and upstairs.
  • If your car stalls, or becomes stuck, abandon it and climb to higher ground or onto the vehicle's roof.
  • If there is a thunderstorm take pre cautions against lightning (see section of manual on lightning).
  • Do not move at night unless absolutely necessary.
  • Do not go into fast-moving water that is more than a few inches deep.
  • After the flooding:

  • Check on your neighbours.
  • Inspect building for damage. There can be danger from collapsing buildings.
  • Stay away from all fallen wires.
  • Stay away from water with fallen wires in it or nearby.
  • Do not turn on your electricity if the water has come even close to plug height.
  • Do not turn on electricity while there is water in your house. Do not turn on electricity standing barefoot on a wet floor.
  • Do not turn on appliances that have been in the floodwater. Let them dry out completely and spray motors, switches, and connectors, with CRC. Appliances can take several days to dry out. Switch on with great care.
  • Do not use food that has come in contact with floodwater. Do not drink, cook with or bathe in floodwater.
  • Remember damaged sewer systems, septic tanks and latrines are very, very serious health hazards.
  • Take photographs of your property, if damaged, for insurance purposes.
  • How to inspect for gas, electricity, water and sewerage problems in your home:

  • Gas: If you smell gas or hear blowing and hissing noises, open a window and door and turn off the gas at the tank. Do not turn off lights or appliances. Get out of the building fast and stay out. After about an hour of allowing the gas to dissipate through open doors and windows, if you still smell gas, call the Fire Service at 991. Do not re-enter the building until it has been checked by a professional.
  • Electrical Systems: If you smell burning, see sparks or broken and frayed wires switch off the electricity at the mains panel. Make sure you are wearing dry rubber soled shoes and you are not standing in water. Proceed with extreme care.
  • Sewerage and Water Line Damage: If the water lines are damaged, do not drink water from the tap, use your emergency water supply. Damaged water lines can lead to contaminated water. To check for damaged sewer lines try flushing your toilet. If it backs up the line is not good.
  • Source: What to do when it floods by, Kristy Ramnarine, kramnarine@trinidadexpress.com,
    Trinidad Express, Monday, September 1st 2008 (edited)

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