Heavy rains have caused the devastating Durban flooding of 2022 and left a wake of destruction along the eThekweni coastline. The Durban floods have killed hundreds of people, ravaged homes, and damaged roads. It has been a trying time for South African families, but there are glimmers of hope. Emergency workers have been rescuing citizens, organisations have been repairing damage, and communities have come together to share food and items with those in need. In response to the floods of Durban in 2022, we share flood safety tips for South Africans living along the coast. Our hope is that these suggestions can help our citizens avoid the dreadful impact of floods should they occur in the future.
Establish a Family Emergency Plan
The heavy rains are supposedly behind us, but you never know what to expect from this year’s unpredictable weather conditions. Therefore, we recommend planning in advance for future floods in Durban and along the South African coast. Our first flood safety tip is to prepare an emergency plan with your family. You, your partner, your children, and anyone else that lives with you should spend time together formulating a plan of action for floods. As you establish this emergency plan for floods, you could consider the following things:
- What is the safest room to gather in your household?
- Does your family know emergency contact information offhand?
- Do you have valuable items readily available if you have to evacuate your home?
- Do you have insurance that protects you from flood damage?
Take Stock of Emergency Essentials
We recommend staying put unless you have to leave your home for your safety during a flood. For example, you should consider retreating to a safer place if your home has, or is, experiencing structural damage. If this is the case, you should have preemptively stashed away essential items as per your family emergency plan. You should have a ‘go-bag’ or a few suitcases full of valuable things ready to grab on your way out. Prepping these essentials, you should consider the following items:
- A three-day supply of bottled water
- A three-day supply of non-perishable food
- Tools, including a flashlight, multi-purpose tools, and a power bank to charge your mobile device
- Personal items, such as family photographs, hygiene items, comfortable shoes, and a few items of clothing
- Medical supplies, including a first-aid kit, bandages, antiseptic cream, and prescription medication
- Documentation, such as insurance policies and medical information
- Money, in cash
Turn Off All Electronic Devices
We recommend turning off all electronic devices plugged into your mains if you are caught in a flood at home as part of our flood safety tips. Better yet, unplug these devices from plug points. We have seen that floods cause damage to infrastructure, and the damage can expose electrical points to heavy rains. This can be incredibly dangerous as electric currents can travel through water. Furthermore, your electronic appliances may short-circuit or blow as rain and damaged infrastructure impact power flow. Before unplugging electronic equipment, ensure that you are completely dry and are not in contact with water.
Check Your Home for Flood Damage
When the flooding subsides, you should immediately check your home for flood damage. You should:
- Confirm whether or not all electrical plug points are working
- Assess your septic tanks or JoJo tanks for damage
- Take photos of property damage to share with your insurance provider
- Clean and disinfect your home, particularly your walls, carpets, furniture, and other things that have gotten wet
- Remove, repair, or replace any drywall or wooden surfaces
It would be wise to consult a repairment regarding fixing damage and organise a professional cleaning company to help. This, in turn, supports their businesses during these difficult times.
Stay Informed With Your Community
South Africans know the value of community, and staying in touch with your neighbours is important for your safety during floods. Beyond experiencing the effects of flooding in your area with you, your neighbours are a great source of information regarding road safety, flooding impact on local businesses, and how to help support your neighbourhood.
Confirm Your Safest Travel Routes
Should you have to leave your home during a flood, you should confirm that the roads you intend to travel along are safe. By chatting with your community, you should get a better idea of which areas are accessible and the best routes to drive along. The routes should be clear of water, debris, and obstructions. You should, at all costs, avoid roads that are water-logged as you do not know what is beneath the water. You should also avoid roads that you know are prone to potholes as these could be worsened from the flooding. When leaving your home, contact a family member and turn on your WhatsApp live location so that they know where you are at all times.
Ensure Your Car is Road-Worthy
In preparation for floods in Durban and along the South African coast, we recommend as part of our flood safety tips that your car is road-worthy. This is a given considering that your car’s roadworthiness should always be maintained regardless of unpredictable weather conditions. That said, now has never been a better time to take your car in for a service. Once your service is complete, you should ask your mechanic to fix any issues that they may have found. You may require a new set of tyres, repairs for your gearbox and cambelt, or a new windshield installed if cracks are present. Chat with your mechanic to determine a priority list of repairs and work your way through these until your car is in tip-top shape.
As we work towards repairing the damage of the Durban floods of 2022, we should also consider how future inclement weather conditions can affect our safety. Following these tips and ensuring that you stay safe with the Secura mobile app are great places to start. You can use these tips and tools to stay informed, prepared, and safe during floods in the future.