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General recommendations for action

Flooding in the Matte area of Bern in 2005 (© VBS)

Flooding in the Matte area of Bern in 2005 (© VBS)

It is impossible to prevent natural hazard events from occurring. However, specific measures can be taken to reduce the impact of such events on people, buildings and the environment. You can do your part by acting appropriately before, during and after natural hazard occurrences.

When a natural hazard event occurs, the relevant authorities do everything in their power to keep its impact on human life and material assets to a minimum. In order for this to happen, the correct behaviour of the public towards the natural event and its effects is a crucial factor. In the event of a natural hazard or other disaster or emergency occurring, the ability of each and every individual to help themselves and others becomes of the utmost importance. Everyone must therefore be in a position to protect him or herself to some extent. The specialist agencies provide recommendations on appropriate action to take in these circumstances. Preventative measures that can be taken before a natural hazard situation, strategies for coping during the situation, and remedial measures after the hazard has passed all differ according to the particular type of natural hazard. Please take note of the specific recommendations for action in the event of  earthquake,  frost,  thunderstorm,  heat,  flooding,  avalanches,  mass movement,  rain,  snow,  slippery road conditions,  forest fires and  wind.

If an event occurs in your vicinity, you should always follow the advice of the local authorities. In the event of an emergency, dial 112. Keep up to date on the current hazard situation via the radio, television and internet, and heed any warnings and alarm signals.

There are numerous simple measures that can be taken to prepare oneself generally for a natural hazard event. Make an emergency plan, check over your building once a year, and ascertain whether you are adequately insured. Here are some tips:

  • Find out the general hazard potential of the places where you live and work. You can obtain this information from the  cantonal hazard maps.
  • Have the most important emergency numbers to hand at all times.
  • Make sure you have a stock of emergency food (the availability of foodstuffs and water cannot always be guaranteed in the event of a natural hazard).
  • Keep your medicine and first-aid cabinet stocked up.
  • Check your building at least once a year for damage, and ensure that aerials, solar panels, satellite dishes, blinds etc. are well secured, and that awnings and porches are robust.
  • Check whether the  cantonal buildings insurance for your canton covers damage caused to your building by acts of God.

If there is no cantonal buildings insurance in your canton, it is recommended that you take out private buildings insurance.

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