What you can do before a flood
- Turn off gas, electricity and water supplies at the mains
- Unplug all electrical items and if possible store them up hight or upstairs. With heavy electrical items such as fridges raise them up on bricks if possible.
- Put the lid down on your toilets and place something heavy, like bricks on top to stop the water coming through the waste pipes
- Put plugs in baths and sinks, weigh them down with a sandbag, pillowcase or plastic bag filled with soil
- Move all your personal and valuable items upstairs or out of the house
- Keep all important documents in a watertight plastic bag in a high, safe place
- Move as much furniture as possible upstairs. If items can't be carried, move them away from the wall as this will speed up drying times later.
- Make a flood kit that includes key personal documents, torch, battery, mobile phone, rubber gloves, wellies, waterproof clothing, a first aid kit and blankets
- Make sure neighbours, especially elderly or vulnerable infirm ones, know there is a flood on the way
What to do following a flood
- Contact your insurer as soon as possible and let them know what has happened. If you need temporary accommodation, be clear about where you are and what you require. If your home insurance is with HSBC you can call us on 0345 300 5899.
- Make a list of the damage and take pictures as it will help your insurer to process any claim you make.
- Open windows to let moisture and water out, but only when someone's at home.
- If your electricity isn't already switched off at the mains, get a qualified person to do that. Never touch sources of electricity whilst standing in flood water.
- Flood water can contain sewage and chemicals. As the water subsides always wear waterproof outerwear including wellington boots, rubber gloves and a face mask.
- Drain water using a pump and generator. Make sure to position the generator outside as generators produce carbon monoxide fumes which can be dangerous.
- Only pump water out once the flood levels outside fall lower than levels inside your property. This reduces the risk of structural damage.
- Local councils can usually provide skips and extra rubbish collections for items that your insurance company has agreed you can throw away.
- If hiring people to help, check they are professional technicians experienced in water damage recovery and restoration.
- Get a specialist opinion and cost estimate from contractors. It may be cheaper for you to get some items restored rather than replaced.
- Ensure flood resilient measures are considered in any repairs, such as moving electrical sockets higher or fitting water preventative air brick covers.
Where to go for help
The organisations bodies specialise in flood advice and guidance and can put you in touch with experts you may need such as property surveyors.
The Environment Agency
British Damage Management Association (BDMA)
The National Flood Forum
The Flood Protection Association
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