We are reaching that time of year when the severe weather in the tropics heads our way, gathering water as it crosses the Atlantic, reaching our shores with devastating effect.
A vast majority of the UK will suffer heavy rainfall over the next few days, so here are some tips on how you can prepare and protect yourself and your belongings from water and flood damage.
- Understand if you are at risk. There are various websites that can help you (for example https://www.gov.uk/check-flood-risk and https://nationalfloodforum.org.uk/).
- Put together an emergency flood kit containing important documents (including your insurance policy), phone numbers, cash/credit cards, torch, water, medication, phone charger and so on.
- Ensure you know how to turn off your water, gas and electric if needed.
- Compile a grab list of valuable and sentimental items you want to keep as safe as possible.
- Think about whether it would be possible to move your car to higher ground.
- Know what your Local Authority’s flood policy is, as you may have to collect sandbags from a depot.
- Create an action plan so you and your family know what to do and when.
- Protecting life is your first priority. Wear wellingtons and rubber gloves, and keep cuts and wounds clean, as flood water can contain sewage.
- Move your grab list items upstairs, turn off your energy services and water.
- Follow the advice of your Local Authority and do not stay in the house if asked to leave. The Civil Contingences Act requires all Local Authorities to have emergency plans in place. Trust and listen to what they say.
- If you remain in the property, move upstairs and keep safe and warm.
- Contact Floodline for immediate help and advice (24-hour service line 0345 988 1188)
- When you return home, be mindful of damage to the building as it may be unsafe. Take care lifting debris.
- Don’t turn the electrics back on until a qualified electrician says it is safe to do so.
- Call your insurance company for advice on what to do next. If your home is uninhabitable, your insurer will find you alternative accommodation.
- Take photographs of everything that is damaged and try not to throw anything away until a loss adjuster visits (a loss adjuster is a representative of the insurance company and will assist you in preparing the claim).
- Take note of any water tide marks to show where the flood water reached.
- Take a meter reading. A lot of the electricity used in the coming weeks will be related to dehumidifiers and building works and the cost should be recoverable.
The effects of a flood can be traumatic, and the National Flood Forum can offer support. If you need to talk to the Aston Lark Claims team please call 020 8557 2382. If you have any concerns about your policy cover, please contact your Account Handler on 020 7543 2800.