Flood recovery – what to do if the worst happens

The UK is now experiencing the worst floods on record and one in six UK properties is at risk of flooding from rivers, the sea or surface water. Whilst measures can be taken to reduce the likelihood of flood damage, it’s important to know what to do if the worst does happen.

Here we provide you with a few key points and tips to help in the aftermath of a flood.

  • Be prepared. If a flood warning is issued, move any possessions that you can easily lift/handle upstairs – particularly valuables and documents. If flooding is likely to occur during the night or early hours of the morning, make sure you have appropriate clothing at the ready – and a torch in the event of a power failure.
  • Keep safe. In the event of a major flood event, there is a risk of structural damage to your home. Don’t re-enter your property unless you are certain it is safe to do so. Avoid wading through flood water as it can take just 15cm of fast flowing water to knock you off your feet. Dirty water can also hide dangers such as potholes, missing manhole covers and other trip hazards. Make sure you wash your hands regularly and keep any cuts/grazes clean to prevent infection from contaminated flood water. You should also consider wearing a facemask in any confined areas.
  • Take photos and note down the flood damage details. When you notify your insurance provider, they will need to know the details of what happened and when, including information such as how long the water was in your home and what has been damaged. These details, along with photos of the damage caused will help to give loss adjusters and surveyors a clear picture and assist in the settlement of your insurance claim.
  • Notify your insurance provider. Make sure you keep your insurance provider contact details somewhere handy and contact them as soon as possible after the event has occurred. They will then help guide you through the clean-up process and put you in touch with specialist help as required.
  • Don’t throw away damaged items. The loss adjusters may require sight of these when assessing your claim.

Flood clean-up process

Your insurer will help with the arrangements for your property to be cleaned up and the usual process is as follows.

  1. For large scale floods, the Fire & Rescue service will pump out standing water or remove with the use of buckets and a pump. This is usually followed by a wet/dry vacuum.
  2. The second stage is to clean and disinfect. Flood water is often contaminated and so the property will need to be disinfected after cleaning to help prevent mould and mildew forming.
  3. Finally, the process of drying out your property will commence. Fans, industrial dehumidifiers and heaters will be used. This can take weeks or even months in the event of severe flooding – but if completed too quickly, damage can be caused to the building’s structure.

The decisions made, and actions taken in the immediate aftermath of a flood can affect the time it takes to restore the damage.

By keeping up to date with any flood warnings issued in your area, taking steps to prevent as much damage as possible and then, if the worst happens, by following this guide you can help the recovery process.

To check your insurance details or find out more about flood prevention, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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