How to Reduce the Impact of Flooding
1. Identify a warning trigger
If your home or business is located in a flood risk area, you are eligible to sign up for the Environment Agency flood warning and alert service, which would be very useful prior to a flood occurring to allow you time to prepare. More information on the Environment Agency flood Warning and alert service can be found here.
If your property is not located in a flood risk area, you will not be eligible to sign up for the service. However, there are many other alternative warnings you could use such as social media groups, the Met Office and gauge boards. More information on alternative warnings can be found on our “7 alternative Flood Warning Triggers” resource which can be downloaded here.
2. Have a plan
There may be very little warning or time to prepare for a flood, especially if you live in an area which is prone to flash flooding, therefore it is important that you are as prepared as you can be at all times as this can save valuable time, or even lives.
A flood plan is a grab ‘n’ go document which you, a neighbour or family member can refer to in an emergency when flooding is expected. It can contain contact numbers for various agencies, family members and your insurance company details and policy number. It can also contain the locations of your utility meters and instructions for switching them off as well as details of where and how to install any property level flood protection measures.
The plan can include a plan of action of what to do if a flood occurs, this is usually a step by step guide and includes measures such as moving furniture and putting protection in place. It is always important to think about your valuable items if your property is in an area at risk of flooding, as you may not be present at the time of a flood. It is a good idea to store any valuables or sentimental items such as important documents, photographs and electrical items up high enough to avoid any potential flood water. For more information, please see our Business Flood Planning and Household Flood Planningresources.
3. Flood Insurance Cover
If your household or business property is located in a flood risk area, ensure that your buildings and contents insurance covers flood damage, this is vital in protecting these assets. DO NOT be tempted to risk leaving out flood cover from your insurance policy because the area has not recently flooded, many people have often taken this risk and lost out. The average cost of an insurance claim can be in the region of £30,000 or higher. More details can found at www.floodre.co.uk or via our resources on homeowner Flood Re insurance or business flood insurance.
4. Property Level Flood Resilience
Installing property level flood protection can be very beneficial in times of flood by preventing water entering your property or minimising the damage flood water can cause once it has entered your home, resulting in a much easier clean up and a quicker recovery period. Ideally, a property would benefit from both ‘resistance’ and ‘resilience’ measures, however it is recommended that you seek professional guidance before undertaking works to your property. Please download our resource for more information about property flood resilience measures.
Once you have taken action to reduce the impact of flooding to your property, it can be useful to consider becoming actively involved in the community. Seek out any local Flood Action Groups or like minded people who wish to try and reduce the potential impacts of a future flood in the area. If there isn’t a group already established, you could consider setting one up. Within this group, there is the possibility of creating a ‘Community Flood Plan,’ identifying and locating residents who may need assistance if a flood is expected, or developing a ‘Community Flood Scheme’ whereby the community can benefit from communal flood defences.
Being vigilant in your local area will also reduce the impact of flooding. For example, in autumn and winter, there is an increased risk of surface water drains becoming blocked with leaves, increasing the likelihood of surface water (pluvial) flooding as water is unable to drain. Spending a small amount of time each week/month clearing leaves from drains and grates will be of huge benefit to the area surrounding your property and can reduce the likeliness of a flood and the potential damage costs incurred.