What would you do if you were at work, the rain was hammering down and within a day your offices were several feet underwater? Would your family be safe if you home was flooded? What would you lose to the rising water?

The long term solution to prevent future flooding across the planet is to cut you and your family’s carbon emissions; however you need to have a short term plan as well.

Be prepared!
As we saw recently in Cumbria and back in 2007, floods can come suddenly and when they do they’re absolutely devastating to communities. By being prepared you could not just save you belongings but your life.

  • Know the risk; Check these flood maps so that you can check whether you’re at risk from flooding from rivers or the sea.
  • You don’t just need to be near water to experience flooding. Even if you live inland, you too could be a victim of flooding. Sewers can get blocked and overflow, contaminating flood water. Heavy rainfall can overwhelm the drainage capacity of the local area causing floods.
  • Get flood alerts – almost three quarters of people that live in the areas that are at risk of flooding have not signed up to get regular flood alerts. Sign up to Floodline Warnings Direct by calling Floodline on 0845 988 1188 or online by following this link. The service they provide is free and sends flood warnings direct to you by telephone, mobile, email, SMS text message or fax.
  • Flood proof your property. It will never be possible to fully protect your home or offices from the risk of flooding, but you can significantly reduce the damage done. Here’s a handy check list by the Environment Agency to help you get started.
  • Check your insurance plan and make sure that it covers flood damage – otherwise you could find yourself footing the bill. Flooding can be financially costly on top of the inconvenience and distress of loosing your home.
  • Find out how to turn off your gas, electricity and water mains supply in order to minimise damage
  • Move treasured possessions and mementos. Secure a place to put cherished items such as photo albums, family videos and heirlooms. It’s quicker and safer to remove one box of things you want to keep safe from you house when leaving, rather than running round trying to collect things on the day of an emergency!
  • What would you want to move to safety? Think about items that you’d want to save such as a pets and furniture and think about how you’d go about moving them.
  • Community – not only will working together when a flood occurs help you to respond quickly and effectively, but consider neighbours that might need extra help, such as the elderly.

If you are unlucky enough to experience flooding in your area, or you have any concerns, the Environment Agency can provide you with the advice you need. Click on their flood advice guides or go to their main flood page if you want any more information.

About the Author: Helen Chapman is part of the PASSION for the PLANET team.

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