Due to the recent extreme weather conditions, flooding has been a serious problem for many homes across England, including the Home Counties. Certain cities and towns are at a higher risk of flood damage due to their proximity to the open ocean, rivers and lakes, but because of heavy rainfall, it has recently become a threat normally unheard of by those further inland. Although there is little that can be done to save your home if you have been hit hard by the recent flooding, it is important to try and salvage as much as you can.
Preparation is essential when there is a flood risk in the near future. Make sure to receive regular weather updates in the risk of a flood, because forewarning, even if it is a mere day in advance, is so much better than no warning.
There are a number of techniques you can put in place to help reduce the flood damage that you may suffer in your property. Switching off the water, gas and electricity at the mains when water is about to enter your home can minimise damage cause to those systems. Unplugging chargers and lamps and then placing them high out of reach will also help to preserve them.
Plug up drain covers with plugs or sandbags, as this will prevent water from backing up through the sewer system which would normally cause more flooding when the drains overflow.
If you are in a high risk area, taking out the correct insurance policies is essential, and you may risk losing a lot of your valuable possessions if you are hit by flooding and are not insured for flood damage. However some companies will refuse to insure for flood damage, so it is important to do specific research into private companies to ensure that your possessions are covered.
Depending on your level of risk, a flood plan could be extremely beneficial to the efficiency of flood preparations, as you are far more prepared for floods when flooding occurs. Flood kits are excellent in extreme conditions, with items such as a first aid kit, blankets, long life food and a torch being essential to any emergency kit.
Avoid travelling through flood water unless it is absolutely necessary. Keep children and the elderly out of flood water; if necessary carry them through. Take care when walking through flood water as in extreme cases the water can hide fallen telephone poles or branches and can cause a trip hazard.
If you happen to accidentally touch flood water, it is extremely important to wash or thoroughly disinfect your hands afterwards, as this water could have been in contact with any number of things and may be contaminated.
As with any emergency, stay calm and collect your family together. Preparation is essential but no amount of preparation can guarantee that you will be 100% ready for the real thing. The best thing you can do is put as many preparations in place to ensure the wellbeing of yourself, your home and your family.
Mike James is an entrepreneur and Sussex businessman with an interest in renovating properties for the buy-to-let market. He writes about his exploits for Gowers Surveyors, Chartered Surveyors in Stamford and Peterborough.