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Floods, Before, During and After

Published: 13/12/12

Flooding – know what to do, before, during and after.

Many households and businesses are facing the prospect of cleaning up after a flood yet again and even some areas not prone to excessive flooding have been affected. Find out if you are at risk and prepare for floods.

Flood Map

The Environmental Agency produces a flood map that tells you the likelihood of flooding from rivers and the sea in your area. If you find you are at risk, you can sign up for Flood Warnings Direct – online here.

Prepare a flood kit

In a flood, you won't have time to find these essential items so it's important to prepare in advance.

  • Be prepared to evacuate your property and think about where you can go for safety -will the route be passable?
  • Know how to turn off your gas, electricity and water mains supplies
  • Make sure your mobile is charged.
  • Prepare a flood kit of essential items such as a broom, spade, mop and bucket; domestic detergent and disinfectant; rubber boots, gloves and protective/warm clothing; first aid kit; waterproof torch and radio, with spare batteries; bottled water for drinking.
  • Agree where you will go and how to contact friends and family
  • Think about what items you can move to a safe place for later and what are essential items for you to have now
  • Locate important documents, such as passport and insurance certificates. You might even want to keep some personal items such as photographs etc with you.
  • Create a list of important numbers including Floodline 0845 988 1188
  • You can sign up for Floodline Warnings Direct by calling Floodline on 0845 988 1188 or by visiting the Environment Agency website.


Advice during a flood

  • Safety comes first! Think about evacuation before it is too late to move. Make sure you follow any advice or instructions provided by the emergency services.
  • If floodwater is about to enter your building, turn off the gas, electricity and water supplies if it is safe to do so. DO NOT touch sources of electricity when standing in flood water.
  • Gas and electricity supplies should remain switched off until a qualified professional has checked the system thoroughly. Wiring, appliances and pipe-work should also be inspected for safety and efficiency.
  • Keep listening to local radio for updates or call Floodline on 0845 988 1188
  • Move irreplaceable personal or sentimental items, such as photographs – as well as portable items - to an upper storey or higher location in your property to prevent loss or damage.
  • Also check any outbuildings to see if any items can be moved.
  • If possible, raise ground floor furniture on blocks or bricks to minimise the risk of damage.
  • Please call us on 0845 603 8381 to report your claim

Advice After The Flood

  • Please call Flint on 0208 309 5000 to report your claim. Our insurers have access to a wide range of specialists who can assist with the drying out and clean up of your property and also the necessary repairs or replacement.
  • If there is any chance that electrical sockets have come into contact with water, switch off the electricity at the mains.
  • If your electricity is switched off following an incident, make sure that a qualified electrician checks the electrical installation before it is switched back on.
  • If your gas has to be turned off, make sure that a GasSafe registered tradesperson checks the gas supply before the gas is switched back on.
  • Do not throw away any items until we or our loss adjuster tell you it is OK to do so.
  • Make a list of any damaged items that you need to throw away before you dispose of them. Take a note of make and model numbers, and take photographs of any damage if you have a camera to hand.
  • Wear appropriate clothing and gloves when handling anything that has been contaminated by flood waters. Remember floodwater often contains sewage, so take sensible hygiene precautions.
  • Carry out any emergency repairs to protect your property from further losses. If you’re unsure whether the cost of repair is covered under your insurance, contact us on 0845 603 8381 first.

Floodwater is dangerous

  • Six inches of fast flowing water can knock you over.
  • Two feet of water will float your car.
  • Flooding can cause manhole covers to come off, leaving hidden dangers.
  • Don’t walk or drive through flood water.
  • Don’t let children play in flood water.
  • Don’t walk on sea defences or riverbanks.
  • When water levels are high be aware that bridges may be dangerous to walk or drive over.
  • Culverts are dangerous when flooded.
  • Look out for other hazards such as fallen power lines and trees.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly if you touch floodwater as it may be contaminated.


Amending your property to deal with floods
For those properties that are particularly susceptible to flooding there are more permanent changes that can be made:

• Doors: buy purpose-built flood boards that can be installed when flooding is imminent. You can also raise door thresholds.
• Walls and floors: raise damp-proof brick courses. Sealing floors (‘tanking’) can prevent water rising through the ground.
• Air bricks: buy specially designed covers that are easy to place over ventilation bricks.
• Drains and pipes: fit non-return valves to drains and water inlet and outlet pipes, but accept that flood water might get in.
In the case of bigger floods this actually needs to happen otherwise the weight of the water outside might cause the building to collapse. Here are some things you can do to reduce the damage floodwater might cause inside:

•Shelving: put irreplaceable or valuable items on high-mounted shelves.
• Home entertainment: fix your audio-visual equipment, for example your TV and hi-fi, to the wall about 1.5 metres above floor level.
• Skirting: fit water-resistant skirting boards, or varnish them.
• Pump: fit a pump in a basement or under-floor void to extract flood water.
• Walls: dry-line. Use horizontal plasterboard, or lime-based plaster instead of gypsum. Get a special draining system for cavity walls.
• Flooring: lay tiles with rugs rather than fitted carpets, which often need to be replaced after a flood.
• Doors and windows: install synthetic or waxed windows and doors, or varnish.
• Kitchen and bathroom: use water resistant materials such as stainless steel, plastic or solid wood rather than chipboard. Where possible raise fridges and appliances on plinths.
• Electricals: raise electrical sockets, fuse boxes, controls and wiring to at least 1.5 metres above floor level. If rewiring, bring cables down the wall to the raised socket so that cabling isn’t affected.

Much of this information has been taken from the Environmental Agency website and from one of our insurers Ecclesiastical – who has also prepared a very useful infographic – download here.

How to prepare for flooding an infographic by Ecclesiastical Insurance

Contact Flint at any time if you need help or advice on the best insurance for your property or if you have to claim for a flood.




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