Do you know what to do in the event of a flood? Find out what you need to know, how to prepare, what to do when it happens and also what to do after the event.
Floods are New Zealand’s number one hazard in terms of frequency, losses and declared civil defence emergencies. Floods can cause injury and loss of life, damage to property and infrastructure, loss of stock, communities to become isolated, and contamination of water and land.
Floods are usually caused by continuous heavy rain or thunderstorms but can also result from tsunami and coastal storm inundation. A flood becomes dangerous if:
It is critical that communities understand their flood risk.
Contact your local council to find out if your home or business is at risk of flooding or visit BayHazards and view your local flood maps. If your property is located near a stream, river or drain, in a low lying/wetland area or on the coast, you may be vulnerable to flooding.
Getting ready before a flood strikes will help reduce damage to your home, business and help you survive.
Flooding in River Catchment Areas
Heavy rain can cause rivers and streams to rise rapidly. Never assume that you are safe close to a river, stream, drain or other type of waterway during a flood. Assess the risks if you need to be close to a waterway during a flood event. The water may overtop banks or erosion could cause the ground around waterways to give way. Debris can also build up blocking waterways and creating dams which have potential to suddenly release a large volume of water. This happens more often than you might think. Be aware of your surroundings, don’t take unnecessary risk and let someone know where you are at all times.
Stopbanks provide some remedial protection from flooding however, if there has been a significant period of rainfall this can increase the risk of overtopping or breaching. If you and your family feel at risk, leave immediately and contact the local council.
If you are by the coast or at the beach remember to think about storm surge. It can be particularly dangerous around river mouths and low lying areas. Don’t get cut off.
Flash flooding can overwhelm the stormwater system and cause surface flooding. Consider storing sandbags if you live in a flood prone area (you can contact your local council for more information on where to get bags). Move items of value higher from the ground and making sure your drains and gutters are clear. Utilities such as power and water supply may also be impacted.
Flood waters can take some time to receded and it is important that you stay informed, so that you, your family and home can stay safe.
After a flood there may be extensive damage to your property and your day to day life may be quite disrupted. Here are some simple reminders of what you should and shouldn’t do after a flood:
Let the council know if you see water coming from anywhere unusual and consider taking a photo or video.