Safety tips to survive the rain and possible storm

JOBURG – Motorists should not attempt to drive in flood conditions.

A weather alert was issued for Gauteng today, 30 September, by the South African Weather Service.

With this in mind, South Africans are urged to remain vigilant and adopt a more proactive approach to avoid damage to property, injury and loss of life.

Bianca De Beer of Dialdirect Insurance said, “South Africa is renowned for its mighty storms – often a beautiful display of nature’s power, but also bringing with it the risk of quickly escalating into a full-blown disaster. The reality is that many storm-related losses could be prevented through better awareness, good planning and smart, prompt reaction.”

READ MORE: ALERT: Severe thunderstorms to hit Gauteng on 30 September

Dialdirect offered the following practical tips to stay safe in adverse weather conditions:

  • Regular home maintenance: De Beer said it was important that you checked structures around your house for weak spots, clearing debris from gutters, fastening items that could become deadly projectiles, cutting away dead trees and branches and ensuring adequate drainage was essential and would significantly reduce your risk.
  • Good vehicle maintenance: “Make sure that your vehicle is in tiptop shape and won’t let you down, even when the proverbial ‘high water’ comes, ” said De Beer.
  • Eye on the weather: “Always keep an eye on the weather forecast and look out for warnings of heavy rains and high winds. Avoid danger areas where possible.”
  • Raise the alarm: “If you notice a possible safety hazard due to bad drainage, cracking structures, landslides etc., in a public area, alert the authorities immediately.”

READ MORE: Tips when driving in wet weather

De Beer also urged South Africans to note the following when it comes to heavy rain:

  • Standing firm: Make sure that your outdoor furniture and accessories are safely stored or firmly secured and that all gates and doors that need to be locked, are.
  • Beware the bolt: Heavy rains are often associated with lightning. It’s best to have surge protection plugs in place and/or to unplug appliances before the storm arrives.
  • Undercover: Where possible, park your car undercover and delay travelling until the storm has subsided. If you are caught in a heavy storm and you feel it’s not safe to drive, look for cover, pull over and/or seek shelter. This could include a covered car park, a petrol station or under a bridge. Don’t park under trees as there is a danger of falling branches and debris.

READ MORE: Tips to ensure your insurance claims are processed after severe weather conditions De Beer added the below safety tips for severe floods:

  • Sand savvy: It is sensible to purchase your own supply of sandbags, especially if you live in a flood-prone area. These can be placed against doorways and low-level vents in times of flooding to help minimise the amount of water that enters your home.
  • Flip the switch: Turn off electricity and gas supplies if flooding occurs to limit the risk of electrical shock or fire.
  • Cars don’t swim: Motorists should not attempt to drive in flood conditions. Remember that just 15cm of moving water can knock you off your feet and water just 60cm deep can sweep a vehicle away.
  • High alert for low-lying spots: Flash flooding often occurs when rivers flow over low-lying bridges.  Avoid crossing bridges or roads next to rivers during heavy rains. If you do get stuck on a flooded road, switch to the lowest possible gear and proceed slowly.

READ MORE: Tips to avoid risks during heavy rains and flash floods

De Beer concluded by stating that it was wise to remember that your life and those of your loved ones were worth more than any house or car, so don’t risk it at any cost.

Related article:

ALERT: Severe thunderstorms to hit Gauteng on 30 September

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