During heavy or continued rain, many parts of the Cayman Islands are prone to flooding. While no two weather systems are the same, if you live in a flood prone area, planning ahead is the key to minimize discomfort and damage.
Before a Flood
What would you do if your property were flooded? Are you prepared? Just because you haven’t experienced a flood in the past, doesn’t mean you won’t in the future. Flood risk isn’t just based on history; it’s also based on a number of factors including rainfall, topography and changes due to new construction and development.
To prepare for a flood, you should:
- Always have an emergency kit on hand.
- Elevate your air conditioning unit if possible, and secure other electrical equipment.
- If feasible, construct barriers to stop floodwater from entering your home. These can be simple and needn’t be permanent features. For instance, you can keep some flooding out by securing outside doorways with a piece of wood.
During a Flood
If a flood is likely in your area, you should:
- Listen to the radio or television for information on rainfall and possible shelter options. If the flooding is severe, the Red Cross might open a shelter for residents whose homes are temporarily uninhabitable.
- If you go to a shelter, you should do the following:
- Secure your home. If you have time, bring in outdoor furniture. Move essential items to an upper floor.
- Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
After the Flood
A flood can cause physical hazards and emotional stress. You need to look after yourself and your family as you focus on cleanup and repair.
- Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline or raw sewage.
- Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewerage systems are a serious health hazard.
- Drain and clean cisterns as they may also be contaminated.
- Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwaters can contain sewage and chemicals.
- Rest often and eat well.
- Keep a manageable schedule. Make a list and do jobs one at a time.
- Discuss your concerns with others and seek help.
Cleaning Up and Repairing Your Home
- Turn off the electricity at the main breaker or fuse box, even if the power is off in your community. That way, you can decide when your home is dry enough to turn it back on.
- Contact your insurance agent to discuss claims.
- Consider your family’s health and safety needs:
- Wash hands frequently with soap and clean water if you come in contact with floodwaters.
- Throw away food that has come in contact with floodwaters.