Home In focus Preparing for floods

Preparing for floods

by Laura Johnston

Because of the ever-changing climate we are experiencing, it’s thought that the number of houses and businesses that could flood will increase. This is why it is important for you to be prepared.

Here are some tips on how you can prepare for flooding including how to protect yourself, and minimise damage to your home and possessions.

Know your flood risk

One in six properties in England are at risk of flooding which means that almost five million people could be affected, however, only half of the people who are at risk of flooding are aware of it.

Knowsley does not have a nationally significant flood risk but approximately 3000 properties in the Knowsley area are at risk of flooding, according to the Environment Agency so it is worth knowing your risk.

If you don’t know your flood risk, this handy feature will help you to find out.

Flood protection

Keeping flood protection equipment in your property if you are in a flood risk area is useful.

You could consider using:

• Floodboards – these fix to frames around windows and doors, and act as a barrier

• Sandbags – you can buy sand and bags yourself or even fill pillowcases and plastic bags with earth

Keeping safe

In the event of a flood, the safety of you and your family should come first and you should all move to higher ground.
In order to stay safe in a flood, you should cooperate with the emergency services fully and be prepared to act quickly.

What to do in an emergency

The first priority is to check where the other people in your household are – if they are not at home, check they are somewhere safe. You should also check the welfare of vulnerable people nearby.

You should also turn off gas, electricity and water supplies if it is safe to do so. Be sure to never touch any source of electricity if you are standing in water.

If you are evacuated, only take important items such as medication and babycare items if you have an infant. Food and bedding is usually provided in evacuation centres but you should take your own spare clothes. Most evacuation centres allow pets so if you take yours, put cats and small items in a carrier and remember to take food for them.

You can keep up to date with news on flooding by listening to the local radio or calling floodline on 0345 988 1188

Protecting your items

Do what you can to protect your items when you first know about a flood warning such as ensuring plugs are in the sink and bath. You can help the plugs to be weighed down by putting a sandbag, pillowcase or plastic bag filled with garden soil on top. A heavy object will do too.

Take important items which can be easily picked up and moved quickly to a safe place or a higher ground. Remember to keep insurance documents safe and move outdoor animals to safety.

What to do after a flood

To help with repairs and replacements, contact your insurance company so they can organise a loss adjuster to look at your property.

To make the process easier, make your own record of flood damage such as using a permanent ink marker to indicate the height of the flooding on the walls of every room that has been affected. You can also photograph or video damage caused by flooding.

Be aware that there may be danger in flood water such as dangerous objects, pollution, sewage and chemicals so it’s important to take care when re-entering your home. To protect yourself, you should always wear waterproof outerwear, protective boots and a face mask.

If you are using a pump and generator to get water out of your property, position the generator outside because they produce carbon monoxide fumes which can be fatal. Be sure to only pump water out when the flood level outside is lower than the level inside to reduce risk of damage to the structure of the property.

Important information to remember:

• Avoid walking or driving through flooding – six inches of fast-flowing water can knock over an adult and just two inches of water is able to move a car

• Do not allow children and vulnerable people to go in the water

• Wash your hands after touching flood water

To find out more information about flooding with helpful tips and advice, visit the Environment Agency’s Flood Action Campaign website