Flooding is one of the most devastating events that can happen to homeowners. It’s also the most widespread natural source of damage to properties in the UK.
Sadly not every flood can be prevented, but there are steps you can take to prepare your home and help get things back up and running.
Before a flood: what to do if flooding is forecast
Unplug all electrical items, and, where possible, store them up high or upstairs. With heavy items like fridges, get some help to raise them up on bricks.
Turn off gas, electricity and water supplies at the mains.
Fit a temporary toilet pan seal (specialist devices can be fitted very quickly) to prevent the backflow of flood water.
Store your valuables carefully. Make sure all personal and valuable items are moved upstairs or out of the house, as these can’t be easily replaced.
Take care of your paperwork. Keep important documents in a watertight plastic bag in a high, safe place. Consider keeping duplicate copies of documents with family or friends, or if you have a smartphone or tablet take a picture of them in case the originals are lost.
Move everything up. Move as much furniture as possible to a higher level or upstairs. If items are too heavy or can’t be carried, move them away from walls to help speed up drying times later. Rugs are easy to roll up, even if carpets may not be movable.
Leave internal doors open or remove them where possible and store on an upper floor.
Make a flood kit. You’ll be glad of this when the flood clean up begins. This should include:
important personal documents
a wind-up radio
spare mobile phone or phone charger
wellington boots and waterproof clothing
a first aid kit (including any important medication)
a list of useful numbers , such as the emergency services, local council and your insurer’s emergency number
Help your neighbours. Make sure everyone knows there is a flood on the way – especially those who are elderly, infirm or vulnerable
Stay safe. Get yourself, your family and your pets to safety as quickly as possible
Be flood aware. You can get real time flood warnings and advice from the Environment Agency and sign up for Environment Agency flood warnings. Aviva has also teamed up with Red Cross to launch an emergency app, which sends alerts about a range of emergencies in local areas, and gives advice on what to do when they happen. You can download it from Googleplay or the Appstore
Check your contents and buildings insurance is up to date. To protect your belongings as well as your home, you’ll need contents as well as buildings insurance. If you live close to a watercourse, make sure your policy shows that. If you live in a flood prone area, check your insurance and whether you’re eligible for a new flood insurance scheme which launched earlier this year – http://www.floodre.co.uk/homeowner/find-an-insurer/