Torrential rain has recently caused flooding in parts of the South West of England, Wales and Northern Irelandduring October 2011. Extreme weather conditions such as flooding can cause serious damage to your home and belongings. If you live in a flood risk area it is essential you have the correct equipment to hand to protect your home from quickly rising waters.
Items to prepare:
- Ensure your buildings and contents insurance covers you for flood damage if you live in a flood risk area.
- Keep your documents in a safe place in a water proof container. We advise keeping them upstairs or on a high shelf.
- Keep valuable items and documents in waterproof containers in the same way.
- Learn how to turn of the gas, electricity and water at the mains. Remember to have a torch ready as you may have to do this in the dark.
- If you feel flooding is a real risk to your home, invest in a water pump and dehumidifier.
Protect your home
- Invest in some sandbags and keep them in a shed or garage so they are handy if you need them. Make sure your whole family knows where to find them.
- Invest in vent guards in the same way.
- Store as many of your belongings that aren’t frequently used in your loft. Make the loft easily accessible, well-lit and well organised so that you can find stored items easily.
Tip! Make-shift sand bags can be made from pillow cases and sand or soil.
If your home is hit by a flood, take the following action:
- Once the flood water starts to wane, clear standing water as soon as possible. A water pump is essential for this task; just remember to use a RCD adapter if using an electric pump.
- Remove anything that is wet from the house. A builders tub or Hippobag are perfect for this task.
- Flood water can be a health risk as it may contain sewage or leaked chemicals. Wear wellington boots and gloves to avoid contamination. Once the main body of flood water is removed, disinfect the whole area with Jeyes fluid.
Drying out your home
- First you need to dry your home. This means removing water from materials and surfaces in to the atmosphere. This is best achieved by turning the heating up (be sure to check electricity and gas first) and use electric heaters with open windows for ventilation.
- Then, concentrate on de-humidifying the home. Collect water from the air with a de-humidifier and speed up the process by closing external doors and windows.
Tip! Before you start the drying out process, take photos of the damage and mark the highest flood point on the wall. This will help with your insurance claim.
If you live in a flood risk area or would like to know more about the potential flooding risks where you live, you can call the Environmental Agency’s flood information number on 0845 988 1188. To recieve flood warnings and updates by phone, text or email, you can sign up here.