The prospect of a flood is one which can cause fear for personal safety and the worry of what will happen to personal possessions.
Whilst it’s impossible to predict when every flood will occur – and where the flood will take place, the key is being organised in advance and putting plans into place should something happen. Everyone can be affected by flooding – not just those who live near the coast or a river and so it’s important that every household knows what their role is and for it to be recorded in a personal flood plan.
Create a general contact list and identify key locations
A list of vital services should be created. The details should include the type of service, the company name, telephone number and a contact name if possible. Numbers should be stored on phones but a hardcopy back up is required in the event of a power failure or batteries being flat. The contact list should be of the following:
- Environment Agency Floodline
- Electricity provider
- Gas provider
- Water company
- Telephone provider
- Home and car insurance; include policy numbers
- Local council
- Local radio station and wavelength
- Travel and weather information
A surprising number of people don’t know where to turn off their utilities at the mains. Describe the location of the service cut-off for electricity, gas and water.
Having a personal contact in an emergency means someone close to you knows where you are and what you are planning to do. Choose both a relative and a friend where possible; add their contact details and also how they can help such as being able to offer emergency accommodation.
Action to take today
There may be no reports of flooding in the area today but being organised in advance means you can act swiftly should it happen. There are a number of tasks which can be completed today and the details of these can be added to the flood plan.
Place all important documents out of flood risk and in a polythene covering. This should include passports, birth certificates, house deeds and important photographs.
Check the home insurance policy; is there cover included for flooding. If there isn’t or there’s no mention, contact them to find out the position and either add to the policy or look to change providers if there’s a concern.
Identify what you would need to take with you in a flood. This should be the bare minimum as there’s a need to move at speed but should include warm clothing which is also waterproof, torches, the folder of important documents, medication, water, food for family and pets, wellington boots and of course the hard copy flood plan.
Learn about flood codes. The TV weather forecasts will often warn of a flood and different codes will be used. Research what they mean and how they may affect you.
Look at how to stop water entering your property and find out where you can find a flood protection system. There are a number of ways you can protect ingress points and there’s a need to have a way which is accessible and can be put into place quickly. Think of who will be implementing this and if they are physically able; products such as the FloodBLOCK system can be purchased or hired and are lightweight to put into place. A number of modular units with connection keys, they rapidly connect together to create a durable and robust flood barrier. They are light enough for one person to use and their design means they are flexible for any type of property or situation.
Know where your items will be stored
Rushing around whilst water approaches will be chaotic and could be dangerous. Detail where items such as furniture should be moved to on the flood plan and who is undertaking which jobs; rolling rugs or hanging curtains over poles perhaps. Write down where the car will be moved to – but remember only to do this if it is safe. Consider where garden items will be moved to or how they will be weighted down.
For some, flooding is an annual threat and for others it could be that doesn’t take place in their lifetime. It’s a complete unknown though as it’s often weather and environment guided so everyone should take some time today to create a flood plan, discuss it with their family and place it where it’s easily accessible should the day arrive it’s required.