I don’t write this post with humour, but sometimes you have to laugh even when you feel like crying.
I’ll put it in point form to try and make it easier to read, I know you are probably under stress.
1. Leave early, if you THINK you’ll be flooded out, or cut off. Don’t wait until the last minute when you may risk you and your familys’ lives
2. Take your cats and dogs with you. If you can’t, make sure they are wearing collars and ID’d to a mobile (not the house phone, you won’t be there)
3. If your animals are larger, a collar OR spray paint a mobile number on their hide. If your horses are wearing rugs, remove them, rugs impede the animals ability to swim and may get hooked up on fences.
4. Turn off gas, power and water
5. Block any sinks with the plug and then weigh down with a sandbag or something similar, this MIGHT stop sewerage coming back through the drains. (Including bathroom floor drains) Include toilet bowls in this also.
6. Take your phone and laptop chargers with you, you’d be surprised at the number of people who forget.
7. Take important documents and photos with you. Things like passports and family photos.
8. Take enough clothes and necessities to last a minimum of 7 days. everything from baby formula to knickers and shoes.
9. If you have room, take you computer Hard drive, leave the screen and keyboard, just the tower, if you haven’t backed anything up.
10. DO NOT cross bridges/causeways unless you know they are stable and the flow of water won’t impede your crossing
11. Notify family and friends when you are leaving, where you are going and what time you are to be expected (allow 1hr leeway) just in case. Call them when you arrive.
12. Make sure you take any medicine you may require
13. It might be some time before you can get back, empty the fridge and freezer, take the food with you OR give it to a neighbour who IS staying. Things gets very smelly with no electricity. Leave the doors open to stop smells and also if the house is flooded, will stop the fridge/freezer becoming a floating hazard outside the house.
13. If you are staying. A fridge only needs to be run from a generator 1 hour in every 4 hours. That’s enough to keep things below room temp and keep things longer.
14. DO NOT charge phones or laptops from a generator, fine electrical items like that, do not like the unstable charge of a generator.
15. A generator chews through fuel, so use as though you may not get fuel for a long time.
16. Use gas where possible for cooking or a BBQ for heating water etc. Water and electricity DO NOT Mix.
17. Boil your water as a precaution, once the water level is more than 1-2 inches deep. JUST in case sewerage has somehow managed to get into the water supply.
18. DO NOT let children play in the flood water, firstly you don’t know what’s dead upstream and secondly there may be a current you are not aware of. This also applies to adults, stay out of the water. The flood water may also contain raw sewerage from flooded septic tanks from council treatment plants.
19. Let the Red Cross know your movements, you are staying, you are going, the number of people ‘lost’ during the bushfires was a critical factor in the number of people initially reported as missing.
20. If you have reported someone missing and the located them, please inform the Red Cross and keep informing them until you see their name removed from lists. During bushfires this caused much distress amongst separated family and friends.
21. Emergency services MAY NOT be able to get to you IF you decide to stay, keep that in mind when making ANY decisions. It may mean no food OR fuel. Keep that in mind.
22. Don't forget you will need batteries and candles for when the power does goes out and also for radios to listen to what is going on in your local area. Whilst you have power charge your mobile and laptops etc, iPods for the kids. Usual routine, Expect the power to go out WITHOUT notice.
23. Solar Panels don't require electricity to work (that's their purpose) Therefore the panels and surrounding cables will be LIVE and could injury to yourself or even death. AVOID at all costs.
24. An old style phone (not requiring 240v) may also be beneficial, sometimes landlines are still working even when the power has gone out. Check your house wiring before assuming this is the case though
25. Check you neighbours, maybe they are elderly and too afraid to ask for help. Offer or do, or if needed bully them out with you. Sometimes you HAVE to do this. The guilt is not worth it after the fact.
26. Upon returning to your premises, assume the house is 'live' with electricity. DO NOT PLUG anything in, UNLESS the wiring has been checked by an electrician and given the all clear.
There may be other articles in this blog that may apply to your current position, Here is one regarding about managing without electricity. Residential Properties Having been through the bushfires, electricity seems so important that the time. You soon realise that not having electricity is not really that important after all. Once you know how to manage!
The Red Cross have published a PDF document that will assist in the cleaning up of flooded properties Cleaning up after Flooding - PDF
And for the geeks of the world, ben-geek has offered this advice Tips for Salvaging Flooded Computer Gear
If you would like to make a donation, 3AW in Melbourne have listed 5 different ways you can help 3AW - Donations Make sure any donations that you do make, are through official channels and that the money will go where intended.
Please take care out there, flooding is just as dangerous as fire.