“In Beijing, it rarely rains.”
If you told someone that in the last two days they would have scoffed at the notion. The last time Beijing experienced territorial rains was in 2012 with different parts of the city flooding and leaving nearly 80 people dead. As of yesterday, hundreds of flights were canceled and the government issued an orange alert to warn the public of more rain to come. This is a good time to brush up on various safety tips in the event that the city continues to experience heavy rains throughout the summer.
When walking, biking, or using a car to get to a safe place, take these necessary precautions:
- Do not walk or bike through moving water. Moving water that’s over six inches deep can cause a person to fall.
- Do not allow kids to play around the pools of water along the pathways, drainage ditches, storm drains, or flooded areas.
- Do not drive through a flooded area. More people drown in cars than anywhere else. Don’t drive around road barriers as the road or bridge may be washed out, (remind the shifu about that when they think it’s a smart move).
- Stay away from power lines and electrical wires as electrocution might occur.
At home or in the office, take the following precautions:
- In the event that your electricity should go out: check if you have space in your freezer then fill plastic containers with up to 90 percent of water. This will act as a coolant and keep the food cold.
- Staying in touch: back up your computer regularly and consider investing in extra batteries for laptops, or a DC converter which allows most laptops to use the cigarette lighter in a car. Keep all mobile devices charged and have an extra phone that stays fully charged and kept somewhere safe and easily accessible.
- Protect your electronics: use a surge protector for all appliances to protect them from shorting out.
- Just in case: Have flashlights, spare batteries, bottled water, a power bank fully charged, food supply that doesn’t require cooking, and a first aid kit.
- Get familiar with your surroundings: know where your electric service panel is located. In most apartment buildings this will be along the hallways. Check to make sure there isn’t a leak near that area; if there is one, call the management office immediately to get that area looked at.
- Boredom busters: the whole family will be confined to the house for an unspecified amount of time, get all arts and crafts you can think of to keep them busy for hours on end.
After the rains have reduced, take the following precautions to ensure your home or area is safe:
- Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Floodwaters pick up sewage and chemicals from roads, farms, factories and storage buildings. Spoiled food, flooded cosmetics and medicines are health hazards. When in doubt, throw them out.
- Soaked carpeting and padding should be pulled up and discarded.
- Look before you step. After a flood, the ground and floors are covered with debris including broken bottles and nails. Floors and stairs that have been covered with mud can be very slippery.
- The use of large fans can speed the drying process and curtail the development of mold.
- Be alert for gas leaks. Use a flashlight to inspect for damage. Don’t smoke or use candles, lanterns, or open flames unless you are sure that the gas has been turned off and the area has been aired out.