Flood preparation planning: Planning & preparation

Flood planning & preparation

So how can you actively plan and prepare for the worst. Every step you take to safeguard against flooding will have its benefits, no matter how small.

So how can you actively plan and prepare for the worst. Every step you take to safeguard against flooding will have its benefits, no matter how small.

As a start, here is a basic idea of some of the pointers to keep in mind if you live in a high-risk flood region:

  • Have an emergency flood kit ready: Floods can leave you stranded for days on end whilst the emergency services struggle to deal with the larger problem. Roads may be impassable immediately after a flood too. As such, it makes sense to have a flood preparation kit ready to use should your home be affected. In an emergency kit, include waterproof clothes, bottled water, non-perishable food and medication.
  • Always charge your mobile phone: Ensure it’s a habit to charge your mobile phone daily and if it’s not on you, keep it upstairs and safe from flood risk areas.
  • Be prepared: There are often flood warnings for specific areas, but unfortunately on occasions a flood can sweep though quickly. Make sure you know how to turn off the utilities such as gas, electricity and water, so you’re prepared no matter when a flood strikes.
  • Take immediate action: If you haven’t invested in flood safety measures and your area is on high alert, take action to limit the damage the impending flood will cause. You can quickly get hold of sandbags, flood sacks and door guards to keep water out of your home at short notice. Phone your local council for assistance with this.

What To Consider When Protecting Your Property

There are various measures to protect your home from flooding and what’s recommended or necessary will depend on the risk assessment of the property. As mentioned previously, a good place to start is the Environment Agency’s flood map. If your property is located in a high-risk area you should take immediate action. Even if your region isn’t shaded, it’s important to still have an idea of how you can plan to deal with problems.

A basic flood plan is essential; whilst it’s also worthwhile considering flood prevention measures when carrying out any renovation work. This will work out to be a cheaper solution and makes the implementation of protection measures easier.

Once you’ve made a decision to invest in flood protection measures, your next step is determining the right solution for your property. There is a range of options to choose from and the exact solutions will be outlined in greater detail later in this guide. According to the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Areas (Defra) statistics, a house flood costs between £10,000 and £50,000 to repair dependent on the depth of water, meaning flood prevention measures are very cost effective. But alongside the cost, the time (usually up to 12 months) to get your life back on track can be devastating.

A Defra spokesperson said: “While resilient repairs were found to be more expensive than traditional methods (average 34% higher) they were found to significantly reduce the repair costs assuming a subsequent flood were to take place.

“Resilient flood mitigation measures will help in limiting the cost of repairs up to as much as 73% for properties with a 20% annual chance of flooding. The up-front investment would be recovered following a single subsequent flood event.”

Creating A Flood Plan

For properties in high-risk flood areas, devising a flood plan can help you to better make decisions in the event of a crisis. You can download your own flood plan from the Environment Agency:

www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/floods/38329.aspx

There are some takeaway points to ensure though:

  • Make sure you have a list of emergency contact numbers to hand. This includes relatives, friends and even the insurance company.
  • Double check you have the right home insurance, which covers your property in the event of a flood. Read the small print and ensure not to be caught out.
  • Be sure to know how to switch off utilities such as gas, electricity and water. A flood can strike at anytime, so even in the dark you should know where the respective switches are.
  • Have an emergency kit kept in a safe place. This would include waterproofs, food, water and medication.
  • If you live in a flood risk area, put important documents in a safe and secure place, preferably on the upper floors of your home and in dry polythene bags.
  • Consider how you would act during a flood warning. You’ll want to quickly move valued possessions such as your vehicle, to a safe place.
  • Have an action plan to implement with your family in the event of a flood. If you become separated you’ll know how to contact one another.

Emergency Kit

  • Insurance documents, other important documents
  • Insurance emergency helpline, local council and emergency services numbers, family & friends telephone numbers, local radio frequencies
  • Torch
  • Batteries (not rechargeable)
  • Portable radio (wind-up preferable)
  • Mobile phone
  • First aid kit with essential prescription medication / repeat prescription form
  • Bottled water (check use-by date)
  • Non-perishable food items (including energy or cereal bars)
  • Blankets, warm clothes
  • Wash kit and essential toiletries (including toilet paper and wet wipes)
  • Children's essentials /(milk, baby food, sterilised bottles & spoons, nappies, wipes, nappy bags, clothing, comfoter, teddy or favourite toy)
  • Camera (disposable) to record damage for insurance purposes
  • Emergency cash
  • Additional items for flood kit: wellington boots, waterproof clothing, rubber gloves

Assessing The Dangers Of Flooding

Now it’s time to assess the potential dangers of flooding in your area to determine which flood protection measures are indeed the best for your home. There are many factors to take into account in this regard and because of this, a different flood protection measure could be better for one property over another, depending on the vulnerability of the building.

Remember, what’s discussed below should only be taken as general guidance and advice. For a better idea of flood protection it’s important to seek out the experience of a flood specialist who’ll be able to tailor protection to your property.

In order to find the perfect flood protection for your building you’ll need to identify the flood risk and source. This could be a river, the sea, reservoirs, groundwater, surface water, sewers or a mains water supply. Remember, if your gutters aren’t clear, they may overflow and cause significant damage to your home.

You’ll also need to assess the depth expected in the event of a flood. Low flood depths are unlikely to risk lives, but can still cause damage to properties. High flood depths can not only cause extensive damage, but also put lives in danger. There’s also the consideration that it can be dangerous to keep large volumes of water out of the home – Because of a build-up in pressure.

By highlighting some of the above, you and the specialist will come to the conclusion of whether your property requires temporary flood defence (whereby water will sit for just a few hours) or extensive defence to prevent water coming into your home over a longer period of days and even weeks.

Temporary & Permanent Flood Resistance

There are two types of flood defence, temporary and permanent. If your area has a particularly high flood risk you’ll need to put measures in place to fully protect the property from water damaging the building and its contents.

Flood resistance measures include upgrading areas such as the walls, drainage and floors to ensure floodwater is kept out in the event of a crisis. There are also flood resilience measures to consider, which help to remove floodwater and dry out the property quicker in the aftermath. This helps to reinstate the building.

For both temporary and permanent flood defence you’ll need the services of a competent building surveyor who’ll assess your property and recommend the appropriate protection.

Protection measures will be recommended for certain areas of the property. Below we detail a few of the more common flood prevention methods:

For the airbricks

When considering airbricks, there are a few options to take into account. These include but are not limited to:

  • Protective covers screwed into the wall
  • Fixtures, which protective measures can be clipped to
  • Airbrick replacements, which self activate in the event of a flood.

For the doorways

Doorways should also be protected from flooding as water can easily come through and spread into the home. Therefore, doorway flood protection is essential and also relatively easy to fit if there’s a flood warning or you’re expecting torrential rain.

You could also consider replacing the front door with a BSI Kitemark equivalent that’ll better protect from flooding. Of course, this ensures your property is safe, even if you’re away.

Other common flood protection products

Floodwater won’t just come through the front door or airbricks though and many people experiencing a flood often remark the first signs were wet carpets. Pumps underneath the flooring will help to keep water levels down.

Water can also back up through the drainage system and enter your home via pipework. An anti back flow valve would be efficient to prevent this, stopping floodwater from entering the property. Toilets can also allow in floodwater and if necessary should be blocked off with towels.

Even cracked mortar on your home’s exterior is an easy access route for floodwater, so ensure this is all repaired with adequate sealant.Floodwater won’t just come through the front door or airbricks though and many people experiencing a flood often remark the first signs were wet carpets. Pumps underneath the flooring will help to keep water levels down.

Water can also back up through the drainage system and enter your home via pipework. An anti back flow valve would be efficient to prevent this, stopping floodwater from entering the property. Toilets can also allow in floodwater and if necessary should be blocked off with towels.

Even cracked mortar on your home’s exterior is an easy access route for floodwater, so ensure this is all repaired with adequate sealant.