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How to Protect your Property from Flooding – Part 1

Protecting Your Home From Flooding

The high demand for more homes means increasing numbers are being built on territories susceptible to flooding.   While surveys commissioned prior to the purchase of a property should highlight the level of risk your property may be at from flooding, it’s important to take this information and flood alerts in the weather forecasts seriously and explore what steps can be taken to minimise the damage and disruption that flooding can cause. 

Know the Flood Risk

If you are purchasing a home in a flood risk area, consider assessing what improvements can be made prior to your moving in – as these changes may be easier to implement prior to you moving your furniture in – such as choosing water resistant skirting boards, or varnishing existing ones.

The Environmental Agency has various recommendations for preparing for and flood proofing your home.  Some are immediate things you can do if there is little warning – such as moving valuable items to higher shelving or to the upper floors in a property, covering air vents and placing plastic sheeting with sandbags around doors and windows.   For safety, remember to turn off your gas, electricity and water supplies and also to get these checked by a qualified professional before turning back on.  If you are in a flood risk area, your property may not qualify for insurance against flood damage.  So, be sure to check your policy carefully and take appropriate flood proofing action to help minimise the cost of repairs.

Simple Measures

If it’s not possible to move your larger items upstairs, try propping them up on bricks and wrapping them in sealable plastic bags to help minimise the damage.  Ensure that electrical items such as TVs or sound systems are fitted to walls at least 1.5metres above ground level.  It is now possible to invest in specialist doors to help seal your property during floods on the outside.  Water resistant ones are also available for internal doors, but an alternative is to remove internal doors and store upstairs when the relevant flood alerts are issued.

Seal Internal Pipes

Meanwhile, although you may have sealed the outside of your property, it is not uncommon for properties to flood internally following reverse-flowing water travelling back up internal pipes.  - This water may enter via sinks, baths, lavatories or even through washing machines and the dirty condition can present serious health hazards. Seal the entry points with plugs and weigh the plug down with a sandbag to help counter the pressure.  Block larger pipes with old towels and cloths.  Keep supplies of rubber gloves and face masks in your emergency kit for when you need to remove these later.

Have an Emergency Kit:

It's common to lose power during flooding and even when the waters subside, it may be unsafe to turn yours back on.  So be prepared by having plenty of blankets, torches and spare batteries to hand.  Invest in a portable radio so you can keep up to date on the flood warnings and invest in waterproof clothing, footwear and gloves.  Pack a copy of your key emergency contact details along with a first aid kit into your bag and take this with you if you are evacuated so you can notify relevant parties of the situation as soon as it is safe for you to do so. 

If you have a more significant threat of flooding, then be sure to visit our next blog for tips on the more advanced flood protection measures that can be taken.


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