Robert Hodgkiss, Head of Risk Engineering at Bryte Insurance
While customary in summer, heavy rainfalls are wreaking havoc across parts of the country, with the George area hardest hit in recent times. Scientists have raised the alarm with concerns around continued, higher than normal, levels of rainfall which could translate to greater danger — from thunder and lightning storms to cyclones and widespread flooding. While dams filling up will always be a welcome consequence, if these reach capacity, the risk of flooding is heightened, threatening lives, property and critical infrastructure. Given these realities, here are a few measures, courtesy of Robert Hodgkiss – Head of Risk Engineering at Bryte Insurance, to help safeguard you and your family:
Some may be familiar with the saying, “When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!” but what happens if you reside in an area that is prone to flooding or your home may be at a higher risk? Consider:
- Investing in sandbags to help divert ‘runoff’ water away from your home
- Assembling an emergency kit. This should include:
- Bottled water
- Non-perishable food (for your family and pets)
- If you have a little one, don’t forget infant formula, baby food, diapers and other essentials
- Prescription and everyday medication
- Spare clothes
- A flashlight
- Power banks and cell phone chargers
- Cash, cards and important documentation (ID’s, passports, birth certificates, contracts, policies, etc. should be stored in waterproof bags)
- Turning off your electricity supply — if safe to do so — to minimise the risk of electrical shock and damage to equipment and devices. Remember that it is always advisable to switch off AND unplug all electronic devices — even if it’s just a lightning storm — to safeguard against power surges
- Moving to higher ground
- Storing or moving high value and essential items off the ground — ideally to your upper shelves or a higher floor, for added protection
On or off-road?
- If you have undercover parking, make use of it to minimise the impact of storm-related damage (hail/falling branches/debris, etc.)
- If caught in a storm, where feasible, avoid driving on roads or crossing bridges that may have standing or seemingly gently flowing water. Less than a ruler length of standing water can cause your vehicle to lose control or ,worse, be swept away. Even off-road vehicles, SUVs and 4x4s may be susceptible. Heightening your risk is the inability to see debris, damage to the structure of the road or bridge, fallen wiring, etc.
- If you are caught in heavy rains or a flood and your car breaks down — call for help. It may be best to leave your vehicle and get yourself to safety. However, do not attempt to walk, jog or swim through fast-flowing water as currents (however gentle these may seem) can sweep an adult off their feet.
Numerous measures can be applied to ensure your family’s safety and protect your assets in the context of a storm and flooding. However, these cannot eliminate the risk. For added protection ensure the right home and vehicle insurance covers are in place and that all policy requirements are adhered to for a seamless claims process.