During extensive flooding like Louisiana has recently seen, many hazards present themselves in different forms. It’s important to be aware of these hazards so that you can be proactive in avoiding them.
Sadly, the damage caused by flooding is usually measured in terms of lives lost and cost of damage to homes and other infrastructures. General health and safety costs that also come with flooding are often overlooked. It’s important however, to look at the full spectrum of hazards when addressing flooding to prevent further injury.
Be Aware of Flood Hazards In Louisiana and Avoid Them When Possible
Fast Moving Water
The fast moving waters brought on by flooding leads to the transportation of large debris including everything from large rocks and tree limbs to automobiles and sometimes even houses. This loose debris can lead to more damage and put those close to the water in greater danger. If you are near rising or high water stay on the lookout for large debris.
Also, driving or even walking in high or moving water can lead to drowning. It takes just six inches of moving water to knock you down, and floodwaters can reach above six inches quickly and without warning. Two feet of water can sweep your vehicle away. Never drive through water and stay away from high waters when walking around affected areas. With the pounding of water on roadways, the pavement could also start to breakaway, causing more issues for drivers. Even if there doesn’t seem like a lot of water, don’t drive on a flooded road because it could have unseen structural problems and could wash away under your vehicle.
Even standing water can be dangerous to your health. Areas with standing water can be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines and lead to electrocution if not properly handled by professionals.
Living in Louisiana during a flood presents its own unique hazards. Rising waters lead to issues with dangerous local wildlife. From alligators walking onto the roads and swimming in the floodwaters to colonies of fire ants floating on the water, floodwater can cause dangerous animals to appear in human populated areas. Remember to stay alert of your surroundings and respect wild animals by keeping a distance when you run across them during a flood.
Not only this, but the extreme Louisiana heat and humidity makes working outside dangerous. Remember to stay hydrated and use hats and other sun protection items when out in the sun.
Floodwaters can also be contaminated with smaller debris and toxic pollutants leading to the spread of viruses, bacteria, and parasites. Avoid high water during a flood to prevent contamination. Also, stay alert of local news in case a water boil advisory is announced. An advisory is implemented when pollutants find their way into water systems and contaminate the local drinking water. Do not drink untreated tap water. When you are in a boil advisory, boil all tap water before use for the recommended amount of time or or use bottled store bought water.
With all of the moisture and standing water during a flood, mold is likely to grow and spread in damp and warm places. Mold can cause allergic reactions and asthma-like symptoms. It is especially harmful for people with a compromised immune system and can cause infections. If you have mold in your home, contact a professional to find out how to effectively remove it.
While the waters are still high around South Louisiana, remember that your health and safety is the most important thing. Be aware of the hazards surrounding you and try to avoid them as much as possible.