Preparing for a flood

Protect your property if the worst should happen

If you live in an area susceptible to flooding, preparation is everything. By staying one step ahead, you can help minimise a flood’s impact and protect your home against long-term damage.

We want to help make sure that if your home is flooded, you get back on track as quickly as possible. That’s why we’ve put together these essential steps to manage your home before and after a flood. 

Before the flood

Moving electrical goods above ground level or upstairs should be one of your first tasks. With heavy items like fridges, ask someone to help you raise them on bricks where possible. And to stay on the safe side, turn off gas, electricity and water supplies at the mains.

Move things upstairs

Move as much furniture as possible to a higher level or upstairs. If there’s something you want to protect that’s too heavy to carry, move it away from walls. This will speed up drying times if things get wet. 

Try to prevent water from getting in

Laying sandbags at entry points offers a great first line of defence in the face of a flood. If you can’t get hold of sandbags in time, a pillowcase or plastic bag filled with garden soil will also work well. 

If you’re living within a flood area, you may want to do something more permanent. The National Flood Forum offers lots of advice, from fitting water-resistant door frames to buying airbricks with removable covers.  

Put your valuables somewhere safe

Make sure you know where your valuables are and store them upstairs where possible. It’s also a good idea to double-check your home insurance policy to ensure your valuables are listed. If they’re not, your provider may not cover it if something happens.

Take care of your paperwork

Keep important documents in watertight plastic bags in a high, safe place. Consider keeping duplicate copies of documents with family or friends. And if you have a smartphone or tablet, take a picture of them in case the originals are lost.

Leave internal doors open

Or you can remove them if possible and store them on an upper floor.

Fit a temporary toilet pan seal 

Specialist devices can be fitted very quickly to prevent the backflow of floodwater.

Make a flood kit

It’s better to be safe than sorry. Keep some essentials close by just in case you need to get on the move once the flood has hit, such as:

  • Vital personal documents
  • Torch and batteries
  • Wind-up radio
  • Spare mobile phone
  • Rubber gloves, wellington boots and waterproof clothing
  • First aid kit (including any important medication)
  • Blankets

Consider keeping a list of useful phone numbers handy, such as the local council, just in case you need to contact them.

Help your neighbours

Make sure everyone knows there is a flood on the way – especially the elderly or infirm.

Stay flood aware

Get real-time flood warnings and advice from The Environment Agency and listen out for any local announcements in your area.

Make sure your insurance is up to date

Flooding is covered as standard in most home insurance policies. Though if you live in an area with a high risk of flooding, double-check exactly what is and isn’t covered. 

After the flood

Once dirty water has entered your home, your priority is to dry it out. It might be worth looking into pump and sump systems to help speed things up.

Now could also be the right time to add anti-flood fixtures to your home. These could include:

  • Investing in flood skirts and barriers
  • Fixing one-way valves
  • Adding water-resistant sealants around door and window frames
  • Fitting airbrick covers
  • Replacing standard insulation with flood-resistant cell insulation

Before you get started on any renovations, it’s a good idea to discuss these modifications with your insurer. In some cases, these fixtures could help reduce your premium.

Did you know?

We’ve been working together with the British Red Cross to recruit a national network of volunteers ready to lend a hand to their friends, neighbours and local community following an emergency.

So far we’ve signed-up nearly 9,000 community reserve volunteers, but we're always looking for more.

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