Tips for surviving a flood
For people in California, the scorching hot weather always poses the threat of drought, which can cause a litany of problems. However, across the pond in the UK, problems are generally caused by too much rain, not a lack of it! Flooding in the UK can pose serious risks of injury and also destroy properties and cars – not to mention cause a major inconvenience to daily life. While some regions in the UK are more susceptible to flooding than others, it pays to have a fail safe plan wherever you are, just in case nature does decide to strike. While news of a potential flood is likely to appear on local news stations preceding the event, in some instances the downpour of rain can come very fast and before you know it a critical situation has arisen.
Preparation before a flood
If you do happen to live in an area which is at risk of flooding, a bit of careful preparation can be the difference between a minor inconvenience and the complete destruction of your home. Installing a waterproof wall system for your basement is one way to secure the home. Another is to stockpile sandbags to prevent floodwater from seeping into your home. If you can’t move your valuable items to higher ground, use sealable bags to prevent them from getting damaged – the same goes for electrical appliances. Installing non-return valves on your drains is also an inexpensive way of preventing sewage from flowing back into your house via the toilets and sinks.
If a flood is imminent, essential items such as medicine, insurance papers, clothing and toiletries should be packed in sealable bags. Shut all doors and windows to the house to mitigate the damage of the flood water. If you can, move the car to higher ground and don’t forget to remove everything from the freezer and refrigerator. Stay tuned in to the radio or television to ensure that you are up to date with the weather conditions, and be prepared to evacuate the house with immediacy if you are instructed to do so. Turn off all mains switches before leaving and locking the doors to the house.
When the flood occurs
First of all, remember to remain calm. When the flood does occur and your home is no longer accessible, your local council will be able to advise you of where you will be able to stay temporarily. Also ask them for advice on the correct routes to take if certain roads are unavailable. Avoid walking or driving through flood water. A couple of inches of flood water may look innocuous, but it can quickly start to accumulate and if flowing quickly, can knock an adult off his or her feet. With this in mind, do not allow children to go near floodwater. In addition to the dangers of a potential injury, floodwater may contain sewage, so if you do accidentally come into contact with floodwater, be sure to wash yourself thoroughly.
After the flood
Only return to your home once local authorities have instructed that it’s safe to do so. Avoid eating any food that has been in floodwater and if you have to use water from the tap, boil it until authorities have confirmed that the local water supply is safe. Thoroughly clean and disinfect any areas touched by floodwater. Damaged septic systems must be corrected as a paramount priority. Please see the gov.uk information site for more information about recovering from a flood.
(Photo by anitapeppers)