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  • Flooding – is your home at risk?

    After watching the news this week and looking at our weather patterns it’s apparent that as a country when it rains it pours. Having seen families and business have their homes ruined how can you safeguard your home and how can you put measures into damage limiations.

    The obvious question to ask – is your home at risk of flooding – do you live:

    • in an area that has been flooded before
    • in a floodplain
    • in an area protected by river or coastal defences
    • near a stream, river or surface water drainage ditch.

    If so necessary precautions should be considered before any flood warnings are given and a plan of action put into place. We see news readers and weather forecasters talk about flood warnings when they happen but  what do they really mean?

    Floodwatch – This means that flooding is possible in your area during the next 24 to 48 hours, and you should be prepared.

    Floodwarning  – If a flood warning is issued, it means that flooding is expected and you should take all the necessary precautions. These include moving pets, vehicles, food, valuables and other items to a safe place , putting sandbags and other flood protection devices in place and getting ready to evacuate your home.

    Severe flood warning – This means that you can expect severe and dangerous flooding. You should be prepared power for cuts and the loss of gas and water supplies; you may be evacuated from your home by the emergency services.

    How do you protect your home from floods?

    If you live in an area that’s likely to flood, it’s important to be prepared. Floodwaters can rise very quickly, so don’t wait until a flood warning is issued – this may not give you enough time to get things ready.

    • Make sure your buildings and contents insurance covers you for flood damage. Keep the details of your policy somewhere safe and handy.
    • Keep valuable items and documents in waterproof bags and store them upstairs or in high places.
    • Make sure you know how to turn off your gas, electricity and water at the mains – you may have to do this in the dark.

     

    How will you protect you home?

    Invest in sandbags which will keep water out of air vents, doors and other water accessible points to your property. Make sure everyone in your household knows where they are stored and how to use them. In areas prone to flooding, your local council may issue you with sandbags, and you can also make them by filling pillowcases with sand or earth or you can order them through builders merchants and online companies. The Environment agency has a handy leaflet on the use of sandbags can be found here

    Make an emergency plan

    Think about what you would do in a flooding emergency. Discuss the plan with your family or housemates, so that everyone knows what to do in the event of a flood:

    If you needed to leave your home, where would you go and how would you get there?

    What would you do to secure your home before you leave?

    What would you need to do before you leave? Do you need to move any valuable items upstairs?

    How would you keep your pets safe?

    Even if you are not at risk from flooding torrential rain can cause issues with

    Roofing – Any small crack or hole in the rooftop is enough space for rainwater to leak through. Check your chimney stacks the bricks should have no gaps and should be tightly sealed together. Repair any broken guttering or clean out leaves and debris which can get trapped.

    Windows and doors – Doors, windows, and other entries to the house would benefit from having some sort of covering over them. Rain rarely falls straight down and the wind can easily push water in through exposed doors and windows. A covering would keep water away and prevent heavy rain damage from starting.

    The outdoors – Poles, columns, and trees with heavy branches can easily fall on a house if blown by strong winds. As much as possible, build house structures far away from poles and cut off branches that are hanging dangerously close to the rooftop.  Houses that are built on low grounds may be more prone to heavy rain damage. If the ground slopes towards the house, water can collect near the foundation and weaken it. Raising the downward sloping areas surrounding the house can remedy this problem.

    For more information on how to prepare for floods please look at the Environment Agency Website for their handy guides.

    If you have flood damage or need to speak to a recommend trades person to check on your property just let me know.

    Thursday, 27 Sep 2012

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