How to protect your home and business from the floods

After the torrential rain over the weekend, the UK looks set to be hit with even more deluges over the next seven days. The rainfall is set to be so bad, the Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning to western Scotland and northern England, parts of which have already been hit by flash floods.

If you’ve not yet fallen foul of the flood waters though, there’s still time to take the necessary steps to minimize the risk of you being washed out of your home, office, or both if you’re one of the thousands of business owners who run their operation from home.

If you do work from home this can be a disaster to both your personal and professional life, so you need to take steps to minimise the risk – the better prepared you are, the less damage your property is likely to suffer.

The first thing you need to do, is check the Environment Agency website, to see check the flood warnings in your area, it may also be worth checking out the live flood warning map to check out the current situation.

You can also register a phone number and email address with Floodline Warnings Direct by calling 0845 988 1188 or visiting the website.

Once you’ve done this, you can then plan accordingly…

Short-term flood defences

  • Firstly, make sure any elderly or vulnerable neighbours know of the danger and help them to prepare if necessary. Then it’s time to get your own house in order…
  • Make a list of important phone numbers, such as your utility, home and car insurance providers and keep them all in a watertight container along with any other important documents, like driving licences and insurance documents.
  • It might also be worth keeping a torch and a fully charged phone in with the documents,a nd making up a survival kit containing warm clothes, blankets and bottled water.
  • Block up with sandbags any points where water could enter the house, such as doors, windows and airbricks.
  • Move all of your valuable possessions, as well as the box with your important numbers in, to an upstairs room or as high off the ground as possible. For anything you can’t move upstairs, such as furniture and fridges, raise them off the ground if possible and move them away from exterior walls – this will help with the drying out process once the floods begin to subside.
  • Unplug all electrical appliances, and turn off  your gas, electricity and water supplies.
  • Never enter any standing water if the electricity is still on, or even if you’re unsure.
  • If possible, move your car to higher ground.

Long-term flood defences

  • If you’ve suffered from flood damage in the past and want to strengthen your home against any future floods, then there are a number of things you can do – they don’t all come cheap, but will be worth it in the long run.
  • Remove downstairs carpets and replace them with sealed wood or ceramic tiles.
  • Install flood skirts at any potential water entry points, like doors and airbricks, and it’s also worth keep flood barriers to hand.
  • Use water resistant sealant on doors, windows, and skirting boards, raise electrical sockets as high as possible and re-plaster walls with waterproof lime plaster and get a chemical damp-proof course.
  • Fit one-way, or no-return, valves to pipes and water outlets, and regularly check and clear drains of any blockages.
  • If you work from home and have an office downstairs, it may be worth considering moving to an upstairs room.

If you’ve any tips to minimise the effects of flooding, let us know in the comments section below.

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