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Coping With Flood Damage And Action You Should Take

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 23 Jun 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Coping With Flood Damage And Action You Should Take

In the midst of a flood situation there are some very real dangers out there and your thoughts need to be more focused now on yours and your family’s self-preservation as opposed to any damage to your property and belongings. Flood damage insurance claims and flood damage clean up operations can be dealt with later. Hopefully, you’ll have done most of the preparations you can before the flood arrived with regards to your home and its contents.

External Help
If you’ve been allowed to remain in your home, then presumably it is still habitable and not directly affected by any flood waters at this time. However, there is still a possibility that you might be cut off from gaining access to essential items such as food or water and your own water supply might even become contaminated. In this event, it’s the responsibility of the emergency services and your local authority to implement an emergency plan so you should keep their phone numbers to hand and there is likely to have been an emergency helpline set up so you should tune in to your local radio station so you can keep up with any developments which might be important to know at this time.

Dangers Outside
The majority of people who put their own lives at risk during a flood are those who dare to venture outside during the height of a flood. You should not attempt to drive or to walk through flood water if you’ve been advised that it is too dangerous to do so because as little as 2 feet of water will be enough to float your car and as little as 6 inches of fast flowing water can knock you off your feet. Manhole covers can also be blown off and there may be other hazards you can’t see beneath the water which could be equally as dangerous.

Likewise, you should avoid trying to swim through flood water unless you fall down in it or have absolutely no other choice in order to survive. Not only will you be unable to spot hazards lurking beneath the water’s surface but it’s highly likely that the water will be contaminated with sewage too which could present you with severe health problems should any water enter your body through your nose, ears and mouth. You’re also at risk from flying stones and pebbles which can be thrown up by any waves and you shouldn’t try to cross river bridges or walk on any riverbanks or sea defences as they’re at risk of collapsing during a flood.

If Water Is Going To Enter Your House
Your initial defence preparations in terms of using sandbags and flood boards and moving your valuables out of harm’s way may be enough to have kept flood damage at bay for the time being but if you know that the danger of water coming into your home is imminent yet you still have a few hours left to prepare there are many things you should do if you have time to minimise the scale of flood damage repairs when you're able to return to your home if a temporary evacuation is necessary

You should do things like disconnecting washing machines, cookers and dishwashers from their pipes so that they do not damage the pipe work in the event that they’re going to be floating around later and if you have time and an upstairs area, try to get all of your main downstairs furniture upstairs and roll up any carpets and take them upstairs too. If heavier items cannot be moved in time, weigh them down as best you can or stack them and tie them together. This will minimise the risk of them breaking your windows should they be floating later.

Obviously, all of these steps above should only be taken if you have sufficient time to do so. Listen out for announcements and if you’re not sure of the imminent dangers, forget about your belongings and evacuate immediately. It’s the lives of you, your family and any pets that must take priority if the situation means that your home is about to be engulfed in flood water.

Therefore, keep the communication channels open with the emergency services and local authority and follow their advice to the letter for your own safety. The clean up operation and the flood damage insurance claims can wait until later and although this will be a traumatic time for you, it’s your life that’s the most important thing here and it’s crucial to remember that this is one thing that cannot be replaced no matter how much financial loss you may suffer.

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