Flooding Preparation Guide – In-depth Guide

The first step is inspecting your property and taking a serious flooding-risk assessment.

1. Will water come in through doors, windows and other openings? 
The answer is almost always yes. Unless they have been built specifically to prevent water ingress (unlikely), you have to protect your building apertures.

2. Will water come in through my walls? 
The answer may surprise you, but quite often it is also yes.  It may not be commonplace knowledge outside of the construction industry but most bricks and more often the mortar joints are porous – they let in water after a surprisingly short time. So if floodwater is liable to persist more than 24 hours it may well come in through your walls. 

3. Will water (or worse, sewerage) come through downstairs drain outlets, like toilets, baths and sinks? 
Unless you have protected those outlets the answer again is probably yes depending on the depth of floodwater and back pressure. You have to consider protecting your drain inlets.

4. Will water come up through my floors, through rising groundwater levels or through sub floor ventilation (airbricks)? 
This would depend on the geology of the ground around you and the structure of your floors, even foundations.  If your house is built directly on to an impermeable material such as clay then rising groundwater will probably not come up.

5. How strong are my walls?
If you stop water coming into your building then its weight bears against the building perimeter walls.  They have to be strong enough to take the expected weight of water or they may suffer damage in flood conditions. 

What to do next?

Consult with a flooding professional on what steps you should take to decrease the risk as much as possible. Keep in mind that every property is different and therefore the steps each homeowner should take will also be different.

For homeowners, however, there’s more to it than ensuring their family and property survive such natural calamities — it means living life as normal as possible afterward, as well.

While injuries and property damage can happen during floods, being prepared for it can minimize casualties. Make sure to tick off the flood safety and preparedness items on your checklist.

Know the extent of your insurance coverage

Review your insurance policy to see what kind of coverage you have and, if need be, add necessary coverage before flooding season starts. Having a public insurance adjuster on-call won’t hurt either, especially when you need immediate action in the aftermath of destructive calamities.

Keep important documentation safe and secure

Copies of birth and marriage certificates, wills, citizenship documents, bank account info, and a comprehensive inventory of valuables should be stored in a secure place capable of withstanding damage (like a safety vault). Should there be a need to evacuate, transfer them to a sealed plastic bag and take them with you.

Educate your family on safety measures

Familiarize each member of the family on safety measures and actions to take during a flood. For instance, members should agree on relocation point (usually the safest room or space in the house for shelter), like a walk-in closet or a widow-less interior bathroom.

Stock up on supplies. Non-perishable goods like canned food, dry cereal, soup, etc., and at least a gallon of water to last each person 3-7 days is a reasonable amount to keep. Also, keep an emergency supplies kit containing first aid materials, flashlights, whistles, and even an inflatable raft.

Regardless of where you are located during a flood, always remember that you and your family’s safety is the priority. Only go back to your property when authorities declare the area safe. Furthermore, document all noticeable damage on your property through photos and video.

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