Flooding can be devastating; it can destroy properties and within it, precious possessions and memories. At the end of last year, the Environment Agency shared that at any given time 5.2 million homes and businesses are at risk of flooding across England.
Though there is very little you can do as an individual to stop riverbanks bursting or drains blocking when they are not in your ownership, there are some steps you can take to become better prepared.
No doubt your local news sources will keep you up to date, but did you know that you can also check if you’re at risk of flooding* on Gov.uk? What type of flood warning is in place?
There are three levels of warnings:
Flood alert – a flood might occur. You need to be prepared – this is the time to consider your plan
Flood warning – a flood is expected. Prepare your property in case you need to leave and store some fresh water in bowls and jugs in case your water supply is affected
Severe flood warning – flooding is severe and there is a potential danger to life. Stay in a safe place but be ready to evacuate.
Create a plan
Take time to write a plan so that you know in advance what you will do should you need to leave your property. “Preparing” means that as an emergency occurs, when emotions may be running high, you are less likely to miss an important step. Be sure to consider:
What do you need to do before you leave the property?
Make sure you know how to turn off the gas, water and electricity;
Unplug any electrical devices. This should be done before water enters the property. Once water has entered do not touch sources of electricity;
Put plugs in your ground floor sinks and WCs and weigh them down with heavy objects;
Make your property secure by locking all windows and doors;
As news of a potential flood occurs it is worth filling your grab bag which contains a change of clothes, toiletries, any medication you might need, some torches (and batteries) and bottles of water.
Purchase some sandbags
It’s always useful to have some sandbags on hand that you can put in front of the threshold of your doors. These might run to short supply as the storm get closer, so it is worth getting these as soon as possible.
Protect your belongings
If possible, move precious items and important paperwork so that it is stored securely at a high-level. If you have an upper level, you may want to consider moving some furniture too.
Get your car ready to go
Make sure your car has fuel or is charged so that if you need to leave quickly you can do this calmly without having to make any stops.