The Dangers of Floodwaters
When you think of storm damage, the first thing that may come to mind is flooding. Unfortunately, sunny South Florida is no stranger to the effects of such natural disasters. Between rising water levels and increased storm activity, flooding has become more and more common. Not only do floodwaters have the ability to cause property damage, but they also possess the potential to seriously harm us. Below are just a few of the dangers following floodwaters can present and how to be better prepared to protect yourself and the ones we love.
We have all seen or maybe even experienced flooded streets where cars suddenly transform into boats, attempting to navigate such weary waters. If you are experiencing flooding in the street, you should think before you drive. Driving through flooded roads may damage a vehicle’s engine, warp the brake rotors, cause loss of power steering and short circuit electrical components. Even if the floodwater does not rise above your bumper, it is possible for water to be sucked into a vehicles engine resulting in serious damage.
Another danger floodwaters present are the presence of contaminants that can affect your health. Often, floodwaters are a result of sewage systems backing up, giving water nowhere to drain. While most view floodwaters as merely an excessive amount of rain, that rainwater may be mixing with sewage water containing feces, old food and other decomposing matter that, if ingested, can result in serious health effects.
Injuries and Infection
As was just mentioned above, flood waters may contain contaminants from sewage systems. Exposure of open wounds or rashes to floodwaters can lead to infection. According to the CDC, you should always try to avoid exposure to floodwater if you have open wounds. Should you be experiencing flooding, you can decrease your chances of infection by keeping your wound clean and covered with a waterproof bandage. Also, be sure to disinfect any objects or toys that children might encounter if they have been exposed to floodwaters.
Not only can flood waters carry contaminants from sewage, but they can pick up chemical contaminants from areas that have experienced a leak or spill of dangerous chemicals. Exposure to these chemicals can cause serious bodily harm, so be sure to wear protective waterproof gear to decrease your chances of exposure to floodwaters contaminants.
Last but certainly not least, a serious concern floodwater can present is the risk of electrocution. After a hurricane or tropical storm, electrical hazards, such as broken power lines or flooded electrical outlets inside your home, can cause serious injuries or fatalities if exposed. If you are experiencing a flood in your home, be sure to shut off electrical power and natural gas or propane tanks to avoid fire, electrocution, or explosion.
After a storm, we often see on the news people kayaking, swimming, or floating in floodwaters. While the temptation may certainly be there, it is important to always remember the dangers that flooding can present and avoid floodwater if possible.