Preparing for Possible Flooding
05

Preparing for Possible Flooding

The frequency and severity of flooding in the UK has increased significantly over the past decade, with the potential to cause widespread damage and distress. With summer coming to an end, and autumn on its way, now is a vital time to prepare your property for any potential floods, especially if your property is in a high risk flood area. We have produced a short guide offering advice on how you can prepare to mitigate the damage from future flooding, and advice to those who may have suffered damage to their property.

 

Preparing for possible flooding

  • Sign up to flood warnings and listen out for them on your local TV and radio stations. (Sign up to the Environment Agency alert system, or NRW for wales and SEPA for Scotland.)
  • Keep your insurance policy documents in a water-tight bag in a safe place and keep a note of your insurer's helpline number handy.
  • Prepare a 'Flood Pack' and make sure that everyone in your home or business knows where it is. The pack should include: a torch, battery-operated radio (with spare batteries), a first aid kit, warm clothes, blankets and bottles of water. Keep it in a safe place.
  • Make note of all your family members or employees contact numbers, agree in advance where they could go and how to stay in touch in case your property has to be evacuated.
  • If you have one, remember to take your mobile phone upstairs and keep it charged.
  • Have sandbags at the ready - your local council may be able to provide these - and boards ready to block doors.
  • Consider moving any cars to higher ground.
  • If you have pets, keep them safe. Flood water can contain sewage which in some cases can be fatal to your cat or dog.
  • Be prepared to move furniture and valuable items upstairs or to a safe place, out of danger. Remember to include items like photos and valuable paperwork that have high sentimental value and will be difficult to replace.
  • If you have time, roll up carpets and rugs and put them in a safe place. Take down curtains or lift them over rods to keep them away from any floodwater.
  • Make sure that any hazardous materials are kept safe and do not contaminate flood water.
  • If you receive warnings of imminent flooding, be ready to switch off gas and electricity supplies but listen for advice on your local radio station. If water levels start to enter your home or business, turn off the gas and the electricity at the main fuse board.
  • Have a map of your local area handy. If you decide to evacuate, remember that some local roads may already be blocked and impassable. Do not attempt to drive across flooded roads.

 

Advice Following a Flood Event

  • Do not touch the electrics.
  • Once the flood water has started to recede, if the weather allows open all windows during the day – the air outside the house will be less moist than that inside, so it helps to dry out the house. By mid-afternoon, the air outside will be moist, so close your windows and put your heating back on.
  • Do not expose items to extreme levels of heat as this could result in further damage.
  • Leave photographs/valuable paperwork to dry naturally, remove excess water first. Leave a de-humidifier running in every affected room.
  • Fridges and freezers should be cleaned out as soon as possible and any food thrown away. If you have the relevant insurance cover, remember to keep a list of food items for your claim and, if possible, take a photograph.
  • Store damaged furniture and fittings in a dry place, they may have a salvage value or could be repairable. Either way they will need to be inspected.
  • Remove all soaked rubber –backed carpets and leave them in the garden as these will have to be replaced. Leave hessian-backed carpets on the floor to dry, as they will shrink if lifted. Once they are dry, the carpets can be lifted to dry the areas underneath.
  • Be careful what you touch and look out for signs of pollution. Once the flood water has receded, remember it may be contaminated.
  • Do not attempt to redecorate straight away, it may take months for a property to dry out properly. Your insurer will be able to advise on this. It is important to check with a decorator or other experts to ensure that the walls and other surfaces are fully dried out and, if necessary, treated to prevent mould.

 

Finally, if your home or business is flooded, contact your claims department as soon as possible. If you would like to discuss your policy with us, please contact us on 01789 761660.

 

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