A flood can threaten your safety, cause serious damage to your property and its relocation contents, and can result in many months of disruption.
Detailed guidance on what to do if your property is flooded is available from the Environment Agency. There are three guides: preparing for a flood, during a flood and after a flood which you can download and refer to.
If you are registered with the Environment Agency and you receive flood warnings, you should activate your flood plans before the flood begins.
In the first instance, you should move occupants and valuables upstairs to a place of safety, ensuring you have sufficient drinking water and food for 24 hours, and wait for the floodwaters to subside or rescue by the emergency services.
You should bear in mind the following:
Floodwater is filthy
It may contain sewage, dangerous chemicals, viruses and bacteria. You should avoid all direct contact with floodwater and everything that has been in contact with floodwater should be considered as contaminated.
Moving through floodwater is Hazardous
Unseen obstacles may trip or injure you as you walk through floodwater. The water may be cold and prolonged exposure could lead to hypothermia. It may be fast-flowing or eddying which could unbalance you or carry you away.
Floodwater and electricity is a dangerous combination
Do not try to operate anything on mains power, including switching off the electrics while standing in floodwater. Try to switch off the electrics as soon as it is evident your property is about to flood.
Why does it take so long to reinstate a property after a flood?
Reinstating a property after a flood will take anything from several weeks to many months,
- the extent of the flood and the amount of properties affected
If the flood is widespread, there may be hundreds or thousands of properties that need assessment and remediation.
- processing the insurance claim
The claim must be lodged, a loss adjuster appointed to assess the damage.
- cleaning and drying operations
The time taken to clean up and dry out a property may run into weeks or months, depending on the severity and duration of the flood.
The time taken to select and order new kitchen units, etc., and the time taken to repair and redecorate the property may run from a few weeks to several months or longer.
Image: Andy Armstrong