Flooding – keeping residents safe

The average cost of the clean-up in a flooded home is £35,000.

Repair reporting software provider Fixflo, helped leaseholders and tenants deal with nearly 5000 small repairs to their homes when Storm Ciara hit the UK earlier this month. This freed up property managers to tackle the major repairs that were needed at blocks across the country.  Winds were at their highest on the night of Sunday 9 February and most damage was reported to fences and windows.

The floods that hit the UK in the wake of first Storm Ciara and then Storm Dennis have been devastating. With 120 severe weather warnings still in place, today we’re being warned that already hard-hit areas could see another’s month’s rainfall in the next 24 hours. This is terrible news for homeowners who are just about managing to keep the floodwaters at bay. And there is little consolation for anyone who has been flooded out and is hoping the water will subside enough to start repairing the damage.

If you live in an area that is susceptible to flooding here’s some helpful advice from the Know Your Flood Risk website:

  • Listen to the local news and emergency services who will advise if evacuation is necessary. Check on elderly relatives and make sure they are ok.
  • Don’t try to walk or drive through floodwater – six inches of fast-flowing water can knock you over and two feet of water will float your car. Manhole covers may have come off and there may be other hazards you can’t see.
  • Never try to swim through fast flowing water – you may get swept away or be struck by an object in the water.
  • Don’t walk on sea defences, riverbanks or cross river bridges. They may collapse or you may be swept off by large waves. Beware of stones and pebbles being thrown up by waves.
  • Be aware of contaminated water as there is potential for sewage to mix with floodwater. This could pose health risks to those who come into contact with it.

For leaseholders, the first port in a storm (literally) is your property manager. There should be an evacuation plan in place in the event of severe flooding. If you don’t know if your block has one, ask.  If your home is at risk, pack an emergency bag for you and your family. Should the worst happen, go to the National Flood Forum website for details of what to take with you.

If your flat is damaged by floodwater, your block manager will deal with insurance claims against the buildings policy which, depending on the cover in place, should also pay for temporary accommodation if you need it.

One insurance expert reported this week that the average cost of the clean-up in a flooded home is around £35,000. So for anyone living in an area at risk of flooding, contents insurance is a must. Your insurer will dry, clean and restore your possessions or replace anything that cannot be cleaned up or repaired.

If you rent your home – you’ll need to contact the property owner, as they are likely to be responsible for insuring the building. Their insurance may also cover your temporary housing needs, so ask your landlord about this too.