Through the autumn and winter of 2012, UK flooding has been some of the worst seen in decades. It has disrupted travel, destroyed homes and businesses and has cost lives.
Flooding is one of the more destructive natural disasters in terms of property damage and loss of life. Torrential rains and melting snows can cause rivers to over flow their banks, levees to burst and can cause flash flooding in areas that are not even experiencing storms.
Floodwaters can destroy infrastructure, cause power outages and literally trap people in their homes for days or even longer.
You can expect disruptions in public transportation such as rail and bus service and traffic jams during a flood. Even if your area has never experienced flooding in the past you are susceptible to flooding at any time during heavy rains or because of significant melting snows.
To check the current status of floods in your area and to check on warnings and alerts on UK flooding in general please visit the Environmental Flood Agency live flood warning website.
flooding risk warningInformation is crucial because the more advanced warning you have the better you can prepare to protect yourself, family and possessions.
Stay tuned to radio or television for updates.
Once you realize flooding is probable, begin moving possessions to upper floors or place them on high shelves. Evacuation is very likely during a flood and you want to be clear of the area before you are trapped by the floodwaters. You can however still prepare your home to lessen damage your possessions.
Food and water are the number one priority during any situation and ideally, you will have an emergency food and water kit, and if not begin filling jugs or any vessel that is safe for water.
For emergency purposes, the average person will need between two and three litres of water daily just to sustain proper levels of hydration.
Tinned food is recommended as an emergency food source because unopened tins are not susceptible to water damage. Each person will need one tin of protein, one of fruit and one of vegetables daily.
For real emergency food that is high in calories and will help you to sustain energy levels I suggest stocking up on MRE’s – Meals Ready To Eat [Self Heating Field Ration Packs] – these are designed for emergency situations and will give you much needed energy and nutrition.
Additional Emergency Items to be Prepared for UK Flooding
Food and water has been discussed previously
Have an ample supply of torches and batteries green tick in a box image
Portable radio for monitoring information
Waterproof containers for cell phones and other small items
Supplies for cleanup such as brooms and shovels along with large garbage bags/barrels
Consider a portable battery system for charging electronic devices such as cell phones
Medications and any medical devices needed such as portable oxygen tanks, crutches, canes or walkers
Radio Frequency Distress or Personal Location Beacons are now legal in the UK for land use as of January 2012 so this can be an optional item and can be a critical item if you become stranded in your home or along the highway
Move all supplies to upper floors along with all essential paperwork. Move blankets, clothing and personal hygiene items as well. Furniture can be placed on blocks or bags of sand to raise them up above any possible floodwaters that enter the home. Smaller furniture can be placed in large plastic bags and sealed.
Keep in mind UK flooding in any area of the city will have an effect on you regardless of whether the waters reach your flat or building. Power will still be disrupted and streets can be flooded causing traffic problems and interruptions in rail and bus lines.
Once you know that floodwater’s waters will reach your home switch off the main gas and electric at the mains and turn off the water source.
Flooding will cause waters to be contaminated with raw sewage and various chemicals and toxins so you must avoid wading through the waters. Thoroughly wash your hands or use hand sanitize if your hands are submerged to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria.
Under no circumstances should you ever consume any floodwater’s or allow children to play in the waters.
If you have no access to stored drinking water then prepare by purchasing a good quality Water filtering bottle ( see review portable water filters). One of these Lifesaver water filter bottles will, purify any contaminated water and give you and your family safe drinking water (4000 ltr per bottle).
Avoid walking or driving through flooded streets because you can be swept off your feet by only 15 centimetres of moving water and less than a metre of moving water can sweep a vehicle away.
Manhole covers can be displaced by the waters so it is extremely dangerous to be out walking in any type of flooding. Downed power lines, trees and leaking gas lines are hazards as well.
If you encounter flooding, turn your vehicle around if safe to do so and find higher ground. If your vehicle stalls then move away on foot because you want to avoid becoming trapped in a vehicle being swept away. Even though the water is not yet deep, it may be soon so it is important that you move away quickly.
Bridges can be underwater to the point you do not recognize it as a bridge, may not realize there is a stream or river there, and so may assume it is only a few inches of water on a road
If you must evacuate, carry your kit that has your emergency food and water along with personal papers, medication, torches and clothing and any other items you need for the next few days. Being fully prepared with an emergency flood kit is essential to survive the first few days. A kit like the Emergency Go Bag 72 Hour Survival Kit is ideal for a flood situation.
It is important that supplies be packed in such a way that they can be carried with you. Do not assume that emergency centres will have any essentials available.
UK flooding will undermine the foundations on flats and other structures so it is important that you monitor the situation closely and if they recommend you evacuate your building you should do so. The waters will wash away the soil and weaken the foundations of buildings to the point the building can collapse.
Ensure someone knows your intentions whether you are staying in place or evacuating so, someone will know to alert rescue personnel and can give them a general or specific location to begin searching for you.
Flooding will cause many people to panic but if you are prepared with a flood kit and know what to do next, you can reduce stress and prevent panic in yourself and family members.
Being prepared before the crisis strikes will save lives.
You cannot properly prepare as floodwater’s are lapping at the front door. Being prepared is a state that should be maintained at all times because you simply do not know when the next disaster may strike.
UK flooding is a serious matter and the greater population density that we find in many areas will create more devastation because quite simply, there is more to destroy because of new construction of homes and businesses.
Flood protection products
The good old sand bag is still a tried and tested method of holding back the flood waters as they start to rise around you your house. But there are also a few other products that will also help prevent the water from seeping into your home.
Doorways and opening are obvious places where the water will penetrate – so block them off. The door opening can be sealed against water by using an instant door guard kit – designed to block off the main doorways and prevent water from getting past.
Air-bricks are also an often forgotten area where the water will enter your home. To reduce this risk fit an Air Brick Flood Seal, they only take a few minutes to fit an there in place, stopping the water.
You don’t necessarily need piles of sandbags, just the bag itself – again, be prepared, have a stash of Polypropylene Rotproof Sandbags ready and waiting to be filled.
Check out the possibilities of the area you live in becoming flooded.
Check your household insurance – are you actually covered and insured for a natural disaster like a flood.
Are you prepared enough for even a ‘small’ flood – with food, water, torches, batteries, warm blankets.
if not – also see: essential prepping supplies