Friday, 29 November 2013

Flood-Proof Friday - Cars and Floods

Car Safety Emergency Hammer Red Beacon Flashlight Light

Do you have one of these in your glovebox? Or are you like me and never knew one of these existed. This is just one example of an emergency hammer, designed to be kept in your car and used emergency of course. This particular one can smash a window, display a red emergency beacon, be used as a flashlight or a can even cut a seatbelt if required. I can think of a myriad of occasions where I could have used this tool, and this story below is just one of those situations that I want to share with you.

Last week I was asked what we do with our cars during a flood. Usually we are aware that a flood is coming, so we move them up to high ground on a neighbour's property. However, last year there were no warnings and we woke at 2am to find water downstairs. We park our cars close to the house and by the time we got to them the water was up to the bottom of the door. While the kids and I got as much stuff out of the house as we could, Paul got into his car in an attempt to move it before it went under. My little Daewoo was a lost cause, parked on the other side of the house and nearly completely underwater by then.

Paul couldn't get the car started and with the water coming inside, he shut the door...big mistake. Something went haywire with the car's electronics and the doors locked. He tried the windows and they wouldn't wind up or down. The kids and I were oblivious to his situation, busily trudging through floodwater, in the rain, to take stuff upstairs. Paul frantically kept trying the ignition, and moving his feet on the clutch and brake, with the water rising up to his waist. The horn didn't work when he pressed it...somehow, finally the car lurched forward slightly, and in that momentary second he was able to wind down the window half way, and push himself out of the car.

He didn't tell us this story straight away. It was only when we decided we had done all we could do that he told me what had happened. It was a sobering moment, realising what could have happened and what we were both oblivious to - the dangers of electronic windows and doors in a flood situation. He said the really frustrating thing was that there was nothing in the car he could smash the window with...hence my promotion of the above type of tool, and the suggestion that everyone should keep one in their glovebox...just in case. I just have an ordinary hammer in mine, but will be getting an all-in-one tool. I like the idea of the beacon.

This was one of our few scary flood situations and surprisingly, in my research for this post, I could not find any really useful information or safety tips from an authority on what they suggest should be done if you are trapped in your vehicle in floodwaters. Maybe that's an area that should be covered on a disaster website or in a get-ready-for-flood checklist. Paul actually rang in on a talkback radio program about this problem and many people rang in surprised that they did not know about this danger also. If you locate any information I would love to know about it so I can share the link.

This week, I also want to update you on the tasks I have been completing under the Queensland Get Ready program. I have registered online and they send me a task every week to complete. This is what I have been sent to do so far:

  1. Like the State Emergency Service (SES) on Facebook - done
  2. Restock or purchase a first aid kit - done
  3. Purchase a battery operated radio and spare batteries - done

These are my latest two tasks:

     4. Save 000 Triple Zero in my phone - all of our phones
     5. Have three days supply of water - we always make sure our filter is full and we have an emergency
         supply of bottled water

In 48 weeks (one task a week), I should be more than prepared for any disaster!

Do you keep a hammer or flashlight in your glovebox?

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