Stay safe during the worst storm in 30 years
Weather forecasters are urging residents of the Western and Northern Cape to be prepared for freezing temperatures, heavy rains, snow, and gale-force winds. During this time, it’s important to us that you take care of yourself, your loved ones, and your valued possessions. Have a look at the tips we’ve put together below to help you do this.
HAIL AND SNOW:
- If you experience severe snow, make sure that the structures around your home can handle the extra weight and that you’re equipped to clear any build-ups if you need to. Also, try to reinforce structures where necessary.
- When hail and snow are forecast, try to park your car undercover and delay travelling until the storm has subsided.
- If you are caught in a storm, look for cover. This could include a covered car park, a petrol station, or under a bridge. However, take extreme care when pulling-over. Put on your hazard lights and don’t risk your safety or the safety of others by dashing madly for cover.
- Don’t park under trees as there is a danger of falling branches and debris. Stay in your car and only leave the safety of your sheltered spot when the storm has passed.
- If there is no shelter nearby, motorists are urged to pull-over to the side of the road if it’s safe to do so. In an unsheltered spot, hail damage is inevitable but it is safer not to drive through a storm when visibility is poor, the roads are slick and there is a risk of aquaplaning through deep pools of water and ice.
- Another idea is to keep heavy blankets in your car. This will provide you with a protective covering you can throw over the bonnet of your car to prevent hail damage.
- If you live in a flood-prone area, it’s sensible to purchase your own supply of sandbags which can be placed against doorways and low level vents in times of flooding to help minimise the amount of water that enters your home. Also move high value items to the highest possible floor or shelf if a flood threatens.
- General and regular home maintenance, like clearing debris from gutters, is essential and will most definitely limit damages and discomfort in times of disaster.
- Turn off gas and electricity if flooding occurs.
- 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. Generally, if the water is deeper than the bottom of your doors or the bottom third of your wheels, it is not advisable to drive through it.
- 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. If you approach a flooding storm water drain at speed, take your foot off the accelerator and let your speed drop gradually. Never brake suddenly because this may cause the car to skid or aquaplane.
- If you’re trapped in a vehicle during flooding, rather abandon it and climb to higher ground; it’s dangerous to try drive out of the water.
SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS, WIND AND LIGHTNING:
- Make sure that any dead and rotting branches are removed from trees to avoid the risk of falling debris during a severe storm. Also ensure that debris is removed from roofs and gutters.
- Make sure that your outdoor furniture is safely stored or firmly secured.
- The power surge of a lightning strike can easily overload most appliances and devices. It’s best to unplug these before the storm arrives.
- If you’re on the road and visibility is too poor or the road is too slippery, rather pull over and switch on your car’s hazards until visibility or traction improves.
- Avoid taking shelter under trees, as this increases the risk of falling debris causing damage or injury.
You can count on us to help you out if you need to submit a claim; simply call 0861 60 01 20.