How to fight the risk of flooding

It might surprise you, but 1 in 6 properties in England is at risk of flooding.

Home on the river at risk of flooding

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Despite this fact, and the fact that there have been several devastating instances of flooding in recent years, many people are unaware of the risks they face.

As a result, they leave themselves more vulnerable to the impact of flooding.

To help counter this, the Environment Agency has launched a Flood Action campaign that encourages people to find out their flood risk and what action to take if flooding takes place.

They’ve written the article below to explain the dangers of flooding and what can be done to mitigate the risks.

Finding out about flooding

It’s easy to check the level of flood risk you face, simply by entering your postcode on the Environment Agency website.

Last winter homes across the north of England were damaged as storms Desmond, Eva and Frank brought record-breaking rain and devastation to families in December, ruining the run-up to Christmas for many communities.

Floods can damage homes, displace families and destroy possessions. In the worst situations, severe weather and flooding can kill.

There is also a high financial cost for individuals and families who experience flooding. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) showed that the average structural and contents claim for a property flooded last winter was £50,000.

The Environment Agency is spending £2.5 billion on defences around the country to provide better protection from flooding, but everybody needs to be aware of their risk and what action they can take to protect themselves, their home and possessions.

Reduce the impact on your pocket when it floods

Flooding can be devastating.

By staying #floodaware we can all help keep our families and communities safer from flooding. Knowing how to protect yourself could also safeguard you, as much as possible, against the heartache of lost possessions and damage to your home.

Here are some key actions to take:

  1. Check your flood risk and sign up for free flood warningsThe Environment Agency sends FREE flood warnings to you direct by phone call, text or email. These can provide vital time to get ready – most importantly to keep you safe, but also give you time to move important possessions out of harm’s way.
  2. Move personal and expensive belongings upstairsLosing of irreplaceable items was most important to the people we spoke to after last winter’s floods. A YouGov survey showed the item most people would rescue from their home if it flooded was a treasured photo or album. If affected by flooding you could on average save over £6,000 in damage costs by moving portable belongings to safety.
  3. Create a flood plan: create a flood plan so you know what action to take if it floods. We provide personal plan to help you save belongings or equipment and get you back into your home more quickly. We also provide a flood plan for businesses.
  4. Learn how to turn off your gas, electricity and water supplies today so you can do this in event of a flood.
  5. If it is going to flood, shut your loo cover and place plugs in sinks (all weighed down with something heavy) to prevent backflow from your drains.
  6. Flood protection – if you live in an area of high risk of flooding or you have experienced repeated flooding you could consider whether making your home more flood resilient would be beneficial. You can get guidance on safeguarding your home here: www.nationalfloodforum.org.uk

Remember, floods are dangerous. Your own safety and that of the people living in your home is most important. Listen to any instructions given by emergency services or your local authority and follow them, especially if you are advised to evacuate your home.

Mark Owen’s home in Ullcliffe, Yorkshire, flooded in December 2015.

“Within 15 minutes of water not being in the house it was a foot deep. When you are looking around and thinking, there’s stuff here that we cannot replace. When you’ve lost your wedding photos and things like that, it’s quite hard hitting.”

Check your risk and sign up for flood warnings today

Please take a few minutes to check your risk. Sign up for free flood warnings online or by calling 24-hour Floodline on 0345 988 1188. You can also follow the Environment Agency’s twitter account for up-to-date information and alerts if it floods.

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