Floods and Flood plans
Flooding is a natural calamity that can be either localized in a neighborhood or widespread. Traditionally, if a river flooded, the most practical solution for flood control was to designate a flat area along the river as a "flood plain." This area was allowed to flood in order to save other valuable areas from flooding. Flood plains, therefore, are unsuitable for inhabitation, but are vital for flood control.
Rivers prone to floods need to be carefully monitered. Flood defenses such as levees, bunds, reservoirs, and weirs are used to prevent rivers from bursting. When these flood control measures fail, emergency measures such as sandbags or portable inflatable tubes are used. Sea walls, beach nourishment, and barrier islands are employed in coastal flood control.
Floods can damage structures such as bridges, cars, buildings, sewer systems, roadways, and canals. People and livestock may drown and epidemics and waterborne diseases may break out. The water may become contaminated. Shortage of food crops arising from loss of harvest may also result from flood damage. Destruction of plants and wildlife may lead to ecological imbalances.Economic hardship caused by temporary decline in tourism, rebuilding costs, and food shortage, may also be a result of flooding.
What to do in a Flood
Floods rarely develop over a period of days, allowing adequate time to prepare. Flash floods, particularly, can develop in a matter of minutes. Heavy rain, levee breaches, or dam failures can lead to flash floods. Flood waters can be deeper and stronger than they look. These torrents are very destructive and can carry debris, rocks, and mud.
If you live in an area that faces flood risk, it is advisable to keep track of weather reports on local television or radio news channels. Flood control instructions should be followed carefully. If you must evacuate, secure your home, bring in outdoor furniture, move essential items to an upper floor, turn off utilities at the main switches or valves, and disconnect all electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
Floods kill. Do not try to walk through flooded areas. Even shallow water moving fast can sweep you off your feet. There may be hidden dangers such as open drains, damaged road surfaces, submerged debris, or deep channels which can cause serious injuries or even death.
Do not attempt to drive through flood water. The water is often deeper than it looks and may be moving quite fast. Manhole covers may have come off and there may be other hazards you cannot see. Your vehicle may be swept away. Never try to swim through fast-flowing water; it may sweep you away or you may be struck by flowing objects. Avoid all contact with flood water, which may be contaminated with sewage and chemicals. Wash your hands immediately after any contact with flood water. Never let youngsters play in flood water.
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