It has been raining for days, water is rising steadily around the house, and it is now almost certain that you will be flooded. What do you do now?
You should of course deploy all the flood resistance tactics we’ve covered in other posts, such as moving as many valuables, rugs, curtains etc upstairs as possible; putting plugs in bath and sinks, and weighting them down to prevent backflow into the house, and putting any flood barriers you have in place.
What if the flood is deeper than 1m?
It might seem counter-intuitive, but if the flood water on the outside of your property rises to deeper than 1m, you should allow the water into your home. At this depth, water is exerting tremendous pressure on your outer walls, which could cause them to move and collapse and result in serious structural damage. It is therefore better to deal with the (largely cosmetic) problems of flood water within the house.
Once water enters the house, flood resilience measures will come to the fore.
Use extreme caution when returning to your home after a flood! If the main power switch was not turned off prior to flooding, do not re-enter your home until a qualified electrician has determined it is safe to do so. Do not use any electrical appliances until they’ve been checked by an electrician as they may have been damaged and become live.
As tempting as it might be, don’t start the clear up until you’ve called your insurer. Your policy will stipulate that you need to tell your insurance provider as soon as damage has occurred, and they may wish to send someone to your home to assess the damage.
In the meantime, make a note and mark on the walls where the water level comes up to. Take an inventory of damaged items, including as much photographic evidence as possible. Keep all damaged items for evidence of a claim, including samples of carpets, and receipts for any emergency work.
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Published 6 March 2017