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What to do in a flood

What to do in a flood

This winter we have already seen the return of stormy weather in the UK, with Storm Angus bringing 80mph winds and flooding in parts of the UK in November. While UIA insurance covers you if the worst does happen, minimising the risk of damage is always a good idea, so be prepared with our step-by-step guide to flooding.

To find out if you may be at risk of flooding, take a look at the Environment Agency website and stay up-to-date with Met Office warnings in your area.

If you do live within a flood risk area, it’s good to be prepared and, if you receive an alert, take action to reduce any potential flood damage. The official flood alerts are classified as below:

1. Flood alert

  • Flooding is possible – be prepared
  • Create your personal flood plan (you can find an online form here). This includes general contacts for your utilities, local council etc, plus the location of shut-off points for your gas, water and electricity. Be aware that phone lines can come down, leaving you without an internet connection, so it’s a good idea to have information written down. Make sure your mobile phone is fully charged, and avoid using unnecessary apps that could drain the battery
  • Make a note of someone you can turn to for help and their contact information. Don’t forget to write down the phone numbers of neighbours or relatives who might need your assistance
  • You can obtain sandbags from your council, which can be used to block doorways, drains and other openings
  • Put together a flood kit including a torch, mobile phone, warm waterproof clothing, water, food, any necessary medication, rubber gloves and wellies
  • Make a list of valuables that would need to be moved in an emergency, then move as much as possible in advance
  • If you have a disability, contact your local council to arrange for extra support if flooding occurs

2. Flood warning

  • Flooding is expected – immediate action required
  • Move as much furniture and electrical items upstairs as you can, covering any large items with plastic sheeting or bags
  • Don’t forget to seal any important documents, such as passports, mortgage agreements, home and car insurance documents, and birth certificates in plastic folders or bags and move them to safety
  • Roll up carpets and rugs and take down curtains, or hook them over the curtain rail
  • Turn off your water, gas and electricity supplies
  • Barricade your home’s entrances with sandbags and boards
  • Move your car to higher ground

3. Severe flood warning

  • Risk of severe flooding
  • It’s time to put your plan into action – collect your flood kit and move your family upstairs
  • Stay up-to-date with developments by listening to the local radio
  • Do not touch any floodwater as it may be contaminated by sewage water. If you do touch it be sure to wash and disinfect your hands thoroughly
  • If you need to be evacuated, contact the emergency services. If you are told to evacuate, you will be taken to a temporary rest centre, but if you decide to go to friends or family, make sure you tell your next of kin or a neighbour where you have gone

4. Warnings no longer in force

  • This refers to flood warnings and flood alerts that have been removed in the last 24 hours
  • If you have been evacuated, don’t return to your property until you have been told it’s safe to do so
  • If your home has been flooded, be sure to wear protective clothing and gloves while cleaning up
  • Get electric and gas supplies checked before you turn them back on
  • Wash walls and hard surfaces with hot water and detergent, then ventilate your rooms well
  • You can get any leftover water pumped out by your local fire and rescue service

You may be surprised at the costs involved in replacing your household contents, so make sure you’re adequately covered. At UIA, we don’t charge for mid-term adjustments, so you can add and remove items from your policy when you need to, ensuring you always have the right cover. Find out about flood cover with our buildings and contents insurance.

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