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Flooding hits homes across the UK every year, causing millions of pounds worth of flood damage, and so it’s essential that you know what to do in the event of a flood, and how to minimise its impact on your property.
If you live in a flood-prone area then it’s likely that you already have a flood plan in place, however, where-ever you are it pays to be prepared, because floods can strike at any time, even in built-up areas that aren’t close to large bodies of water.
Here CashLady looks at how to minimize flood damage to your home, including keeping your treasured possessions safe, dealing with the electrics and, where possible, stemming the flow of water.
How a flood damages your home
Whether it’s a river that has burst its banks, coastal flooding, or through a combination of blocked drains and heavy rainfall, the biggest consequence of a flood is typically water damage.
Not only can flooding destroy treasured possessions, it can also penetrate into the foundations of your home causing it to be unstable and potentially dangerous.
Bacteria, mould and viruses from standing water, meanwhile, can trigger allergies and nasty diseases.
Protecting yourself and your family during a flood
Keep up-to-date with the latest weather reports and check out the Government website for flood warnings, where you can also sign up for alerts.
In extreme flooding only call emergency services when there is a real risk to life because all services will be under pressure.
If you can, locate your mains electricity supply and turn it off – but never do this if you are standing in water.
Move your family and pets upstairs or to higher ground if possible and relocate your treasured items, such as personal possessions, electricals and family heirlooms, in advance.
If you’re in your car and hit floodwater then don’t attempt to drive through it as you may be much deeper than it appears.
Check on your neighbours and make sure any elderly or vulnerable people prepared too.
Wear boots and gloves to protect yourself when walking through flood water because it may be contaminated.
Minimising flood damage to your home
Sandbags can significantly reduce damage to flooded properties and so use them to block gaps in your doors, airbricks or gates leading to your home.
For comprehensive guidance on how to use sandbags, read this handy six-page document on the Government website.
Making a ‘flood kit’
Keep a readymade ‘flood kit’ handy, including torch, battery radio, emergency numbers, rubber gloves and your insurance policy documents.
Store it all in a safe place, ideally on a high floor of your property.
If you live in a flood-prone area then it’s crucial that you have a plan in place so that you and everybody in your household, knows what to do when a flood strikes.
Claiming on your insurance
It’s a good idea to take photos of your property as it is normally, which will be helpful for comparison when it comes to making a claim on your insurance.
Ensure your insurance is up-to-date as you will likely need to claim to help compensate for any flood damage
Documenting the damage
Take photos of the damage in the immediate aftermath and avoid clearing up until you have spoken to your insurance company. You are also usually advised to take a picture of the tide mark.
Don’t throw things away as you may also need these as evidence for your insurance company, also keep a note of your meter readings and the details and contact names of builders or anyone who has helped with the repair of your home.
Checking the foundations of your home
Water travelling at 10 miles per hour is powerful and has the same force as wind travelling at 270 miles per hour.
This impact of moving water weakens the property structure, both inside and underneath, and can separate it from its foundation.
If you suspect that there could be damage to the foundations of your property, then seek a professional evaluation.