Whilst it’s hoped that no family is ever in the position where they need to leave their home due to flooding, the rising incidence through flash flooding or coastal erosion means it could happen anywhere in the UK. Being prepared means that evacuation can take place calmly and safely and everyone can reach a place of security as quickly as possible.
Leaving behind any possession is difficult when there’s the chance it could become water damaged, but the reality is that it’s impossible to take everything. There are some items though which are either irreplaceable, difficult to replace or have incredible sentimental value. The majority of these items are documents and will disintegrate if in contact with water for a prolonged period of time, so to ensure they are accessible when needed, they should be gathered together and organised as an emergency evacuation pack. A designated member of the household should be given responsibility of taking the pack with them but every person at the property should know where the pack is in case whoever is designated is not at home at the time.
These top 10 items are those every household should find today, check they are up to date and put in a safe place. If the time ever comes that there’s a need to deploy home flood defences and leave, everyone will know they have all that is needed to carry on with life as much as possible until they can return home again.
1. Home insurance policy
This is the immediate item you’ll need as your insurer will need to know what is happening. As soon as you’re safe, contact your insurance company. If you have buildings and contents insurance with different providers you will need the documents for both policies.
2. Passports and original birth certificates
Passports and birth certificates can be replaced; but at a cost both of time and money. Having official ID is essential if you find yourself requiring temporary accommodation.
3. Medical documentation
If anyone in the household has documentation with regards to a medical condition or medication then it is vital this is part of the document pack as it will be very difficult to replicate in the future. This also covers hospital appointment cards and details of any repeat prescriptions in case you need to visit the pharmacy whilst not at your home.
4. Last will and testament/power of attorney
Some people have copies of their will lodged with a solicitor however, there are many who have undertaken creating their own will through DIY templates or online packs and the only copy will be the one at home. If there are documents regarding power of attorney for members of the family or others who don’t live at the address these must be taken as they could be virtually impossible to replicate depending on the circumstances.
Gather photos which have sentimental value such as birth and wedding photos to keep in the flood pack. As a safeguard, scan as many photos as possible and load them onto either a CD or USB stick; this way a digital copy of a larger number of images can be transported easily. There’s also the option to store them all online so you know that they will always be accessible.
Whilst you will be carrying house keys and car keys at the time of evacuation, there may be specific keys which need to be taken when leaving the house indefinitely and not knowing how much damage there will be on returning. If you have any keys which would be incredibly difficult to replace; home safe or bank safety deposit box ones for example, take them with you. Whilst they probably wouldn’t be damaged, they could be lost in flood waters.
7. House ownership documentation
Title deeds are valuable documents as are those from the land registry. They are time-consuming to replace and there’s also the issue of knowing the details of any mortgage you hold which could be lost in a flood.
8. Financial documents
Financial documents to take include details of bank account numbers, pension plan details, investment documents and any paperwork regarding share ownership. These items aren’t in use every day and so could be forgotten about if not in one place and could be sorely missed at some point in the future. There’s also the fact that emergency funds could be required so take everything which could help a short or long term stay away from the property.
9. Details for utilities and credit contacts
You’ll need to contact the utilities to tell them if you’ve had a flood as there may be damage to the mains gas and electrical supplies.
There will still be bills to pay so if you have loans or credit cards, keep details of account numbers and a copy statement of each financial agreement so you can contact the companies if required to ask for monthly statements to be redirected or if you need to talk to them regarding outstanding balances or amounts of available credit.
10. Flood plan
The creation of an overarching flood plan document should complete the package of items. The plan will detail the main contact details of emergency services, the local authority, utilities and personal contacts so they can be told you are safe. The plan will also serve to list where certain valuable items of furniture can be moved to – if there is time – and who is designated which jobs. The tasks would include who is to deploy flood defences, who will ensure that everyone has warm clothing and who is responsible for taking the flood pack with them.