Another monsoon spell is expected and with it will come a host of dangers and dangerous situations. We’ve gathered some important reminders and courses of action for you to stay safe this monsoon season.
The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) said on Wednesday that “another strong monsoon low-pressure area” was likely to approach Sindh on Thursday (July 14) and persist till Monday (July 18). “Persistent heavy spell may trigger hill torrents/flash flooding along and downstream Kirthar range,” it cautioned.
The last few spells of heavy rainfall have proved to be deadly so it is pertinent to stay vigilant and careful. Here’s what you can do:
- Stay indoors unless absolutely necessary. Keep an umbrella and a raincoat on you wherever you go out.
- Keep doors and windows shut and avoid sitting near windows as rain is often accompanied by strong winds.
- Maintain a distance from power lines or electrical wires. If you notice any loose electric wires in your area, alert the authorities immediately. Additionally, do not park your vehicle near power lines or electricity poles during monsoon season.
- Avoid touching electrical switches or outlets while it is raining. Do not try using electrical sockets or outlets outdoors while it is raining.
- It is recommended to avoid ringing people’s doorbells while it’s pouring, especially if the bell is exposed to water.
- Avoid water that collects on roads — not only do you not know how deep it is, there may be an uncovered manhole or ditch you can fall into. The water is also a cesspool of diseases and infections.
- Wear covered or rubber boots while going out, if at all.
- Keep a check on alerts and weather reports for flash flood warnings and updates.
On the road
- Avoid driving in heavy rain because of poor visibility. If possible, park and wait for the rain to slow down or stop before continuing.
- Do not drive across a flooded road. The water may be deeper and stronger than it appears and may contain sharp or dangerous objects, potholes or live electrical wires.
- Avoid underpasses, drainage ditches, low-lying areas and areas where water collects — they can unexpectedly flood or overflow.
- Avoid speeding as road accidents become frequent in monsoon season. Drive slowly on wet roads and keep a safe distance between your vehicle and others’ — your tyres may slip on the road. Do not make any sudden turns.
- Be extra careful if you ride a motorcycle as they’re prone to slips and falls on wet roads. If you drive a car, be careful of bikers around you.
- Keep your headlights on so that your car is visible despite the heavy downpour.
In case of an electrical fire
Rain can cause heavy electrical damage, which may lead to an electrical fire so it’s good to know what to do in such a situation and how to prevent it.
- Do NOT douse it with water — you may get electrocuted or shocked since water is a natural conductor of electricity.
- If it is safe to do so, turn off the power supply to your house. The main power supply lever will be located in your fuse box.
- If the fire is small, try using baking soda to extinguish it. For very small fires, you can also try cutting off the oxygen supply using a heavy blanket.
- Remember, only some fire extinguishers can be used on electric fires and if you have one, you should check that it’s one that can deal with Class C fires.
If you fail to put the fire out, evacuate the premises immediately and call the authorities for help.
- To prevent an electrical fire, get an electrician to inspect your home to ensure it meets the safety provisions. If water has leaked onto the electrical outlet, make sure an electrician checks it out before you use it.
- Make sure all appliances and devices meet the recommended wattage.
- Never use extension cords with heating units or air conditioners.
- Pay attention if you notice any warning signs of electrical failure. This includes flickering lights, buzzing sounds from the electrical system/fuse box and circuit breakers that often trip or fuses that frequently blow.
- If you smell something burning or see smoke coming from your electrical outlets, turn off the main power for your house from your main power box if possible and contact an electrician immediately.
- If you have an outdoor electrical box, it’s a good idea to cover it with a tarp or plastic sheet to prevent water from entering it.
Where to get help
The PMD has launched 16, an emergency helpline, to respond to any emergency situation during monsoon rains. They added that the helpline would remain functional 24 hours.
“The caller will only have to dial 16 and will be routed to the flood emergency response department concerned,” PMD spokesperson Dr Zaheer Ahmed Babar said.
Some important contacts to make note of in case of an emergency are:
- Sindh traffic police helpline: 1915
- Edhi Ambulance Service: 115
- Aman Foundation Ambulance: +92 (21) 1021
- CHHIPA: 1020
- If you live in DHA/CBC: 1262
The Sindh government has also compiled a list of major hospitals in the province.