We have often heard and seen people commenting on videos of areas affected by floods and criticizing the apparent lack of effort shown by flood victims trapped on roofs of buildings and cars to get to safety.
Please allow us to take a brief departure from our usual topics about water quality and drinking water to remind people of the dangers lurking in flood waters.
"Why don't people just SWIM to safety? The water does not look THAT deep..."
- Flood waters contain an innumerable amount of biological hazards that if ingested, could easily render a person very sick and possibly dead in a matter of days.
- Flood waters contain an enormous amount of physical debris that could cut a person very badly. Highly contaminated flood waters would then have easy access into a person's body through the open wound(s) and infection would quickly follow.
- Murky flood waters contain things like downed power lines, clothes lines, etc. that could easily snare or entangle a foot... and leave a person trapped in rising flood waters.
- Murky flood waters cover all sorts of ground features that may drastically affect the currents of flood water and highly unpredictable, sometimes violent flood water currents can drag a person under the water -- much like a rip current/tide at the beach.
- Flood waters conduct electricity just like 'regular' water and in times of disaster, the local power grid may flicker on and off sending unpredictable surges of power through downed power lines under the surface of murky flood waters.
We can think of a whole lot more reasons NOT to try and swim through flood waters, but we also think most of you get the point by now. Flood waters contain an insane amount of contaminants, debris and dangers not always visible to the naked eye... so stay out of them if you can!