Top tips to prepare your home for an emergency

Emergency FloodEmergencies caused by disasters both natural and man-made can strike at any time and take many forms. Whether it’s flooding, high winds, industrial accidents or house fires, or even the recent riots in English cities, such events can impact on people’s lives in a potentially terrible way.

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail

If the worst did happen, would you know what to do? Have you made contingency plans? And will your home insurance cover you? With only minor preparations, you can ensure that you and your home are as protected and ready as possible, both physically and financially.

Do you live in a potential disaster zone?

One of the most important factors to consider is if the area you live in is prone to a particular type of disaster.

Flooding, for example, is a major problem in the UK, and appears to be worsening as global warming changes the climate. If your local area has a history of it, you might want to buy some sandbags (even a dinghy perhaps!) and most definitely check that your policy covers you.

Even if you’re nowhere near a flood plain or river, burst water mains flood many houses around the country each year, and torrential rain can cause flash floods in places previously unaffected.

Disaster can strike in unexpected places too

And disasters can occur completely out of the blue, as well as in places where they’re perhaps more expected. A tornado ripped through Kensal Rise, North West London, in 2006, damaging 150 homes and injuring six people.

It was totally unpredicted and many of those affected certainly weren’t prepared for the aftermath.

Tips to prepare you and your home for disaster

Here are a number of tips for disaster preparation. Even if you follow through on just a few of these suggestions, you and your family could be thankful in the long run.

1. If you have to stay in your home:

• Ensure you know how to turn off the mains water and gas supplies into your home.
• Get a landline telephone (one that doesn’t need batteries and is cordless).
• Always keep a stock of tinned food and supply of water.
• Torches, and candles with matches, should be placed somewhere you can them access easily.
• Buy a wind-up radio and write down the frequencies of your local radio stations.
• Make sure all fire alarms are working.
• Keep sandbags, especially if you’re in a flood zone and/or near a river.

2. If you have to leave your home:

• Keep a ladder in the upper part of your home. If you live in a building higher than three floors, know what the escape drill is.
• Car owners should keep an emergency kit in the boot, such as a shovel, supply of fuel and torches.
• Make plans for any household pets and where you could leave them if necessary.
• Pack a bag of essential items.
• If you have children, be aware of their school’s emergency contingencies.
• Make emergency contact arrangements with family and loved ones.
• If necessary, turn off gas and water supplies before leaving.
• Lock and secure your home as best you can.
• If returning after a disaster, think carefully about potential hazards such as falling masonry or gas leaks.

Policy Expert 

If your home is your haven, you’ll want it to have the best protection: compare quotes from our range of handpicked insurers and tailor a policy to suit you. For more information speak to one of our experts on 0203 014 9300 or email

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