Thursday, November 12, 2009

Safety First

Sources from The Star

Saturday November 7, 2009

Safety first!

How could something so beautiful be so dangerous?
Thousands of people perish at waterfalls each year, but Waterfall Survivors Club founder Joe Yap says that many of the accidents could be avoided if we only had more common sense (like avoiding the deep end or slippery rocks) or paid more attention to the laws of nature.
Here, she dispenses more expert advice on how to return from your next waterfall adventure in one piece.
·Always look at the weather upstream and make sure the sky is clear. If the sky looks gloomy, you should avoid the waterfall. Flash floods can occur in a second — you will not be given a signal at all that it’s coming.
·Usually, a person is able to tell if the place is prone to flash floods. The giveaway? A number of huge logs sitting along the riverbank. This could only mean that a powerful gush of water carried the logs there. The location of these logs can also tell you how high the water level can go.
·If it starts raining, always look for higher ground. Stay away from riverbanks.
·Undercurrents are common in waterfalls. If the current sucks you in, stay calm. The more you struggle, the worse it’ll get. Remain calm, and the water will eventually loosen its grip on you.
·If you’re swept away by the water, lie on your back, facing upwards. Be sure to protect your head and go with the flow.
·When someone is trying to save you, stay calm or you will risk both your lives.
·Rocks at waterfalls are slippery. Always ensure your next footing is stable before proceeding to the next step. And a rope will come in handy each time you’re thinking of crossing a river that is strong or knee deep.
·Get out of the river immediately if 1) The current starts getting strong 2) the colour of the water changes (showing that it’s raining upstream).
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