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How to Prepare Your Home for Possible Flooding

How to Prepare Your Home for Possible Flooding

Previously we touched upon changing our perceptions of the Beverley Brook and flooding. Learning to live alongside the brook, understanding that flooding is a natural process and that there are many small things we can do to prepare for it and deal with the after effects, is important to improving our resilience in the future.

Over the last two posts (How To Be More Flood Resilient In Barnes; Know Your Flood Risk – Be Prepared) we have mentioned a couple of small things that can be done to prepare, cope with, and pick up from flooding. In this post we will mention several more, and in a bit more detail, writes our Project Manager, Tarun Ingvorsen.

Move valuables upstairs:
When flooding occurs in your property, it is quite harrowing to watch as all of your possessions are damaged/destroyed, your memories taken away from you and your life turned upside down. Moving emotionally and financially valuable items upstairs, or even onto a top shelf is an easy way to avoid losing them.
Taking photographs of valuables will help if they do become damaged, when reporting them to your insurance.

Place electrics higher:
We all know what happens when you mix electricity and water. If you are able, get the electrician to move your plug sockets from the bottom of the wall to the middle.

Don’t pave/astroturf your gardens and driveways:
It may be easier to manage your garden if it is paved over or if you install fake grass instead of real grass, but when it rains, the water has nowhere to go and will contribute to flooding, even potentially in your property. If you have a lawn, flowerbeds, or even just some gravel, then water will be able to soak into the ground, rather than collect on top of it, or inundate our pipes and sewers.

Dig a pond:
Ponds are great at storing water and attracting wildlife and nature to your garden. However, once they are full, they are full. Poke several small holes in the top half/third of your pond liner, or only line your pond halfway, so that once it fills up, some of the water can drain away naturally, making more room for the next heavy rain. This can help to keep your garden dry after it has flooded.

Get a waterbutt:
One way to stop flooding, especially during times when the drains are already at capacity is to install a leaky waterbutt (with optional holes near the top for overflow). This can be temporary storage, slowing the rate at which water inundates the drains. It may be just enough to stop your sink or toilet from backing up.

Be mindful of timing:
If the drains are at capacity, putting more water into them is not a good idea. When there are heavy rains or high tides, don’t do the dishes, drain your bath, have a shower or run your dishwasher or washing machine. Waiting a couple of hours, if possible, may save your house from internal flooding.

Green roofs:
This is a bit of a pricier option, but putting green roofs on your shed or other buildings will help to soak up some of the water before it hits the ground.

Moss instead of grass:
In the same vane as the green roofs, moss can hold an extraordinary amount of water. Replacing your lawn with moss will not only reduce the need to mow it, but will act like a massive sponge. If you don’t fancy swapping your whole lawn, putting patches of moss in your dampest areas, or at the bottom of drain pipes is a good idea. Moss will grow naturally in the dampest places, so it may be as easy as just leaving it in your lawn rather than raking it up. Moss is also fantastic at storing carbon – world saver!

Help your neighbours:
If you live next to an elderly person, or someone less able, see if they can manage if their house becomes flooded. Do they need your help to get to safety, upstairs? Do they have relatives or friends nearby that can help? Maybe you could offer to help them upstairs and stay with them?

Do NOT leave your house until told to do so:
Whilst you may think that the flood water is shallow and it is safe to go out in it, there may be other dangers that you can not see. If a drain cover lifts, you may not be able to see it. If you fall into it during a flood, you might now be able to get back out again. You may also bump into objects the water is hiding and suffer grazes and cuts that can easily get infected.

The Four Ps:
The three Ps are the only things that you should flush down your loo – Pee, Poo and Paper. During a school session I was harassed into adding a fourth by a gang of 7 year olds – Puke. Anything else down the loo runs the risk of blocking the sewers and causing flooding.

Cooking waste:
Don’t wash the grease and oil from your pots and pans down the sink. These can build up and create fatbergs, again blocking drains and sewers, causing flooding.
Wait until the fat and oil has solidified and scrape it in the bin, or, carefully soak up the fat and oil in kitchen roll and put it in the bin. Small amounts of cooking fat or oil can go in your food waste bin, if you have one.

Think twice about your basement:
Is your property at risk of flooding? If so, building a new basement or using your existing basement to store expensive items, or to live in, poses risk to your valuables stored there during a flood, or even your life. With the rate of flooding increasing due to climate change, is that risk worth it?

Find out where you can get sandbags from, in case there is a need to protect your property from flooding. Can your street all chip in to get some sand bags for your houses? Spending some money now may save you lots of money down the line.

There are many other things that you can do to increase your resilience to flooding and to learn to live alongside it, but hopefully this list gives you some idea of what you can do to make you more resilient.

Find our previous blogs here and here.