If you fail to protect your property, or the flooding is so severe it enters your premises anyway, it’s important to know the best ways of keeping safe throughout the crisis. Ideally you’d start by moving all valuables to the upper floors, whilst ensuring there’s enough food and drinking water for at least a 24-hour period.
It’s also important to bear the following points in mind:
• Floodwater is contaminated
Floodwater is by no means safe and could contain a number of dangerous elements such as sewage, chemicals, bacteria and viruses. For that reason, try to avoid all direct contact and treat everything that has come into contact with floodwater as contaminated.
• Floodwater is dangerous
Not only can floodwater be fast flowing and therefore, life threatening, but there’s also the risk of unseen obstacles injuring you by trying to wade through it. Not only this, but the water itself could be cold and prolonged exposure may lead to hyperthermia.
• Floodwater & electricity is hazardous
As you’ll know, combining water and electricity is always dangerous. In times of flooding this risk poses greater problems and as such, it’s important to switch off the power if water enters your home.
What Should I Do If My Property Is Flooded?
In the UK there has been a serious rise in flooding levels over the last decade or so and all homeowners should consider their options and know exactly what to do in the event of an incident. There are five million people around England and Wales living or working in flood risk zones and there’s actually a greater chance of your home flooding, than catching fire.
However, people know exactly who to contact in the event of a fire. It has been drilled into us all since we were small children. But do you know the correct procedures if there’s a flood? Probably not. In this section we’ll outline the appropriate action to take and provide a summary of the organisations responsible for providing aid.
The Environment Agency: The Environment Agency is the organisation responsible for maintaining and operating flood defenses. They should also issue flood warnings at times when levels could impact properties. There is a number to call for help and advice: 0845 988 1188.
The Police: As you would probably expect, the police will become involved in coordinating emergency services in the event of flooding. They will help people to evacuate buildings and take full control of the situation.
The Fire & Rescue Service: The fire & rescue service will coordinate with the police in severe flooding incidents to help save lives and evacuate buildings. There may also be the need to remove water via pumps.
Citizens Advice Bureau: The Citizens Advice Bureau is a dedicated service responsible for providing help and advice to those in need. You should contact the bureau to discuss ways you can get money and compensation from flooding, as well as advice on recovering full insurance costs.
The Local Authorities: The local authorities are also required to help manage flood risks and coordinate with the police and fire & rescue services in the incident of flooding. Local authorities should offer advice and help on the correct course of action to take. In the event people need to evacuate their homes, temporary accommodation should be set-up.
Your Insurer: Your insurer is well experienced in responding to flood events.
Staying Safe During A Flood
When stormy weather is predicted or there’s a flood warning announced, it’s important to act quickly in order to stay safe and protect your possessions. There are a number of things you should do in the build-up of, and during, a flood.
- If you have invested in flood protection measures, ensure these are fitted in place. Leave the internal doors of your property open
- Ensure to plug your sinks and cover with something heavy to prevent water forcing its way through
- As a priority, remember to turn off your utilities, including gas, electricity and water
- Unplug your electrical items and move all valuables to the higher levels of your home
- Don’t try to walk or drive through fast flowing water – It’s a lot more powerful than it looks
- If you or children come into contact with floodwater, ensure to disinfect your hands
- Have access to a battery-powered radio where you can listen to advice from the local authorities and emergency services
- Place tables and other furniture on bricks if you can, to get them off the ground.
Top Tips To Minimise Damage
Flooding can cause substantial damage to your property, ruining possessions and leaving you facing emotional turmoil. For these reasons, it can take a long time for the building to be back up and running and months before you could return to your home. There are some things you can do to help speed up the recovery of your property though, both before and after an incident.
At Polygon, we have much experience in helping homeowners and businesses deal with the after effects of a flood. We know time is of the essence and the quicker you are to react, the less time it’ll take for your property to recover. By preparing fully for an imminent flood and taking the correct action afterwards, you will also reduce the damage to valuable possessions.
Our top tips to help you recover from a flood are listed below:
1. Keep all emergency telephone numbers close-by
This would include:
- Your home insurance company
- The Environment Agency
- Local authorities
2. In order to reduce the damage flooding will cause to your home and possessions:
- Switch off the gas and electricity
- Have torches or other temporary lighting available
- Move your valuables, electrical possessions, books and furniture to the upper levels of your property
- Ensure your pets are safe and secure.
3. After flooding, there are some steps you can take to speed up your property’s recovery:
- Open all windows and doors to improve ventilation
- Take up the carpets and move them outside. The chances are they are soaked through with contaminated floodwater. But take photos first and check with your insurance company before taking action
- Throw contaminated food away, but leave fridges and freezers shut until power can be restored to the property.
Always make a note of what you throw away, so you claim back from the insurance provider.
It’s important to remember, properties affected by flooding should not be expected to recover in the immediate future. Recovery can be a lengthy period, requiring specialist attention and support to help fully return the property to its former self.
It’s highly advised to insure your property against flooding, particularly if you’re in a high-risk area. Some insurers won’t include protection from flooding as standard, so it’s crucial to read the small print.
Specialist companies such as Polygon can also restore special belongings of sentimental value or importance in both domestic and business properties. These range from documents and X-rays to photographs, fabrics, jewellery, artwork and furniture..