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You Are Worried About Being Flooded

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A brief synopsis from Richard Simmons:

This is my personal advice to you and it is written in an easy to understand format without prejudice or liability. I feel I have expertise that will help you; here it is:

You are worried that you might be flooded soon:

Background thinking:

keepcalm.jpgI am assuming you have current information from the Agencies and News broadcasts that flooding is a strong possibility. Do not hope for the best; be prepared.

Most households think it "will never happen to me"; already the reports from the agencies are that even when issued, warnings are rarely heeded until too late. Flooding wrecks, houses, families, lives and marriages and even jobs.

My advice is to do anything and everything to mitigate the likelihood of water ingress or to at least limit the amount of water into your house. Whilst many have the view their efforts could be pointless, they commonly fail to appreciate that the water damage and drying time from a flood is proportional to both the height of water and the length of time it stands in a property.

Bricks and concrete very slowly absorb water until eventually after many days it reaches the core; it then takes months to dry those materials out. (1" per month). If one can minimise the time and depth the water stands for in a building then the drying time can be shortened by many weeks.


Here are some simple things you can do in a few hours that will save your property in a marginal flood.

Walk around your property and examine where water would first leak in. Typical areas are airbricks and low level vents, the front and back doors.

Airbricks and vents can typically be covered with vent covers from specialist companies. Assuming you have only a few hours in which to react, cut simple 12mm thick plywood covers and plug and screw these to the brickwork with a mastic or acrylic window sealant around the airbrick or vent hole.

Screw a plywood sheet (18mm if possible) either to your external door frames or the wall holding the door frames. Run a mastic gun / sealant where the ply joins the brickwork and check all frames are sealed to the brickwork at all points. Seal the bottom of the plywood to the frame cill or paving.

If sand bags are not readily available buy polythene diy bags of sand or gravel from your local merchants, superstore or garden centre. They are really effective if very tightly packed together. Two sandbags deep are better than one and £60 buys about 20 bags.

Lay these outside the doors and any other vulnerable points. If you are sure a flood is arriving then a concrete / post mix door barrier should not be discounted as 'crazy'. A dry mix of concrete would cure adequately in several hours, it takes about an hour to install and only a few hours to break out.

Old towels should be jammed into toilet pans as tightly as possible to form a seal and then rest heavy weights, such as bricks on the towel to stop sewage entering through the toilet when the drains surcharge. Try to block all sink and ground floor basin pipes even by disconnecting them, blocking with rags and taping them up.

One important point to note is when water levels increase to over 1 metre in height: Do not try to keep water over 1 metre deep out as the water pressure could cause the building structure to collapse.

If possible, lift all kitchen appliances onto the kitchen worktops if the weight of the items can be supported.

Other Actions

  • Move as much furniture and furnishing upstairs out of the areas likely to flood.
  • Roll up carpets if realistically possible.
  • Raise sofas etc onto boxes etc.
  • Tape up electrical points with waterproof tape.
  • Disconnect electric and gas when flooding starts.

Consider buying a submersible pump (£100-£150) that can be placed in the lowest area of the house and may work wonders if you nearly win the day. After a bad flood, this would clear your house of standing water really quickly, therefore meaning that drying times would be reduced.

Buy a few simple items: Electric heaters, disinfectant, wide sweeping brushes, polythene sheeting, duck tape, washing line ropes, semi-circular dust pans for bailing water; mops; scrubbing brushes and a wet vacuum.

Post Script

rainfall.jpgIf your neighbours laugh at you because the flood never arrived, you should still be delighted that you have had a 'dry run'; your holes are drilled and your boards are cut ready for next time. If you live in an area that has previously or could possibly flood your home it is likely there will be a next time... but maybe less notice.

In your preparations you have only damaged your house with a few minor sealant marks and drill holes; this is a small price to pay to save your house from flooding and can be cleaned off relatively easily.

The measures above are relatively little trouble in order to possibly preserve your entire way of life which may otherwise be seriously disturbed for many months. Assess the evidence available to you and the likelihood of a flood, then decide and act! (Image Credit:© Stas Perov)

In Summary

I hope the above guide is helpful to you. Do not assume the Government, Councils or Agencies will take responsibility for you. Be determined to help yourself by minimising both your risk and any possible effects if a flood happens.

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