Persistent and heavy downpours have led to some catastrophic floods in the UK this year, with many families sadly losing their belongings and even their homes due to damage. The loss from such natural disasters can be both devastating and irreparable, so if water starts seeping into your residence, here’s what to do.
Turn off the electricity
This is the first precaution to take if the flood-waters start to creep in. It’s basic science, electricity and water do not mix so, if possible, turn off the gas, electricity and water supplies. If water has already entered your home do not touch any electrical equipment as this could cause a spark and be extremely dangerous. Instead, call the emergency services and wait for help to arrive. It’s also a good idea to keep a torch somewhere safe just in case the flood occurs at night and you need a safe source of light.
Place essential items in a high place
If time allows, gather all essential items and put them in a high place. Upstairs is probably your best bet, but if you live in a bungalow or first-floor flat, make use of attic space or high shelving. If you have to move out of your home due to damage, rescued items can always be kept in safe, secure units from companies like Ready Steady Store, so focus on keeping those important goods dry.
Move your family somewhere safe
Always put people ahead of possessions and never enter a house if it’s been severely flooded to rescue any personal belongings. As flood water can be highly-contaminated with all kinds of nasty things, ask if you can stay with a friend or relative until the water subsides and the damage is assessed. The government has recently increased funding to help support flood victims so you should also be able to seek assistance (including temporary accommodation) from the Citizens Advice Service.
Listen to local updates
At times of hardship, communities often gather together. If your radio is down, you can almost always guarantee someone, somewhere will know what’s going on, so keep an ear out for local news and watch for updated flood warnings in your area. Village halls and community centres tend to open their doors to victims of natural disasters and if large amounts of people in one area are affected help usually arrives promptly, so try not to despair. A stiff upper lip is essential at times like this, but if you or anyone you know is in danger always phone 999.
If you know poor weather is on its way, be prepared with sandbags lining your entrance doors and an emergency kit packed and ready should you need to evacuate. Flood water can rise quickly and is often scary to manage, but it’s essential to stay calm, think logically and seek urgent assistance if you need it.