How to behave properly in an emergency

The nationwide warning day is only intended as a rehearsal to test the alarm systems. Still, people should know what to do if there is an actual danger. Or do you know how to behave when warnings of flooding or heavy snowfall are imminent? The Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK) explains that usually with every warning also recommendations to be pronounced. We explain how to behave in the event of danger or what you can do to protect yourself.

Flood: Prepare adequately

According to the BBK, it is always important to keep up to date and follow flood warnings or weather reports – especially if you live in an endangered area. If there is a warning about a flood that could affect you, you should definitely think about it early on. It is important to clarify in advance who is responsible for what (distribution of roles), where to take the sick, those in need of help and also pets, or to talk to neighbors. These precautions can save important time in an emergency.

According to the BBK, sandbags and waterproof sheets of plywood should be ready before the flood and make sure that dangerous or toxic substances are protected from the water. Valuable furniture and equipment were to be moved to the upper rooms, and heating oil tanks were to be weighted down with ballast. In addition, it should always be checked whether sufficient food and drinking water are available.

When the flood is approaching, you should definitely not stay in the basement – according to the BBK, this is life-threatening. If possible, you should check the backwater flaps in the basement even before the flood. If you can, you should also seal windows, doors and drain openings. The BBK warns of the risk of electric shock: Electrical devices and heaters should be switched off. If possible, turn off the entire fuse for the rooms that can fill up.

Always keep children safe

Anyone who is in the car when the warning of flooding is issued should immediately leave garages, parking lots and underground car parks that are at risk. Flooded roads should be avoided – if the car is up to the wheels in water, you should have your vehicle towed, according to the BBK.

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According to the BBK, it is particularly important not to put yourself in danger – even if you want to help others. Children should therefore be brought to safety before the danger arises. It is also important to always follow the instructions of the emergency services, not to enter barriers and shore areas and not to “walk” boats unnecessarily in flooded areas.

Storm: best to stay at home

Warnings relating to the weather can be found on the Website of the German Weather Service (DWD). In the event of extreme weather warnings, however, these are also played out on all other channels. If there is a warning of a storm, moveable objects should be secured outdoors as long as it is still possible. In addition, those affected should always check whether they have enough food, a medicine chest and spare batteries for flashlights. It can also help to have a battery-powered radio in case the power goes out. You can also get more information about warnings if, for example, the smartphone battery is empty. The BBK offers one on its website checklistto help with the preparation.

According to the BBK, when the storm is here, the most important rule is always to stay at home. Windows, shutters or shutters should be closed and unprotected openings avoided. In the event of a storm, it is best to go to a room on the ground floor – not in the basement. Sensitive devices should ideally be disconnected from the power supply.

According to the BBK, anyone who has not made it home after the storm warning should definitely avoid unprotected places where they can be hit by objects flying around. Although those affected should seek shelter in a building, halls with large ceiling spans should be avoided.

If you cannot find shelter in a building, you should lay your face on the ground and protect your head and neck in case of hail. In the event of a bad storm, it is best to squat down with your feet close together – preferably in a hollow. If you are in the car during a storm, you are safe here, but you should not touch any bare metal parts.

Release of hazardous substances: Wear respiratory protection

First of all: Anyone who notices or suspects an accident involving a hazardous substance at home should report this to the rescue control center (Tel. 112) or the Poison Control Center Report.

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According to the BBK, anyone who receives a warning about the release of hazardous substances and is outside at the time should go to a building as quickly as possible – and pay attention to announcements from the police and fire brigade. It is best to move across the wind direction and breathe through a respirator or handkerchief.

When entering a building, people who have already been in contact with hazardous substances should change their clothing and shoes and place the contaminated clothing in a plastic bag outside the building. In addition, hands, face, hair, nose and ears should be washed thoroughly with soap and water.

Anyone who is in the car when the warning of the release of hazardous substances should switch off the ventilation, close the windows – and go to the nearest closed building. It is essential to follow the instructions from authorities and emergency services and to wait for new information – for example via radio or app.

In the future, cell broadcast will warn everyone with a smartphone via SMS

Anyone who receives an SMS from their network operator these days informing them about the so-called cell broadcast need not be surprised.

Heavy snowfall: beware of the front door

When the weather service issues warnings of heavy snowfall and icy conditions, the best thing to do is to stay at home – with a sufficient supply of food and drink. It can be very dangerous on the roads if the weather conditions suddenly change. But you should also be careful right in front of the front door. The BBK warns about snow avalanches from house roofs and icicles on the rain gutters, which can break off and injure people.

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Power failure: have cash at home

People today are heavily dependent on electrical energy. Although prolonged power outages are very rare, they are theoretically possible. According to the Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK), it can make sense to always have charged spare batteries, power banks and a battery-operated radio in the house as a precaution. Cash can also help in an emergency – because in the event of a widespread power failure, the ATMs will no longer work.

explosions or terrorist attacks

In order to be able to react in a dangerous situation, the BBK recommends one In the event of an incident, above all to keep calm. As a precautionary measure, it can be helpful to regularly refresh your first-aid knowledge and generally find out where the emergency exits are. Important information and instructions on how to act in the event of an incident can be called up primarily via the Nina warning app.

The BBK also reminds that self-protection has top priority, that you should always follow the instructions of the emergency services and that you should heed announcements. If this is possible without danger, people should also be rescued from the immediate danger zone. If there is a warning of a danger, for example through announcements, the warning apps or the radio, the corresponding areas should be avoided at all costs.

Extreme heat: drink supplies

Even if you can hardly imagine it right now – the time of the heat-related warnings will come again. In general, you should weather reports of the German Weather Service to avoid any surprises. Extreme heat can also be life-threatening. However, if you inform yourself early on, you can counteract this by having sufficient stocks of drinks in the house and making the apartment heat-resistant – for example by darkening the rooms.

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