Protecting homes from flooding

Freak Flooding

The term ‘Freak Flooding’ simply means the experts, forecasters and other professionals that are responsible for monitoring severe weather just didn’t see it coming.

Sometimes they see severe floods coming but didn’t expect as to what extent . Local areas braced themselves for a severe lashing and did their very best to evacuate residents.

Even those living in the flood areas refused to evacuate because they assumed there may be a few inches of flood water. They never guessed that they would need to be rescued and had no time to collect any possessions.

Many said it was the scariest moments of their life.

The Esplanade, Holywood, in the period before high water (14.58), Belfast Lough. This was the fourth successive exceptionally high tide since 3 January where flooding had been predicted. In the event, although there been flooding on previous days, to
The Esplanade, Holywood, in the period before high water (14.58), Belfast Lough. This was the fourth successive exceptionally high tide since 3 January where flooding had been predicted. In the event, although there been flooding on previous days, to | Source

Evacuated To A Place Of Safety

Life is never simple, yet someone from the local council or police informs you of imminent flooding and suggests you leave your home because the area is about to be hit by severe flooding.

You are not just leaving your home, you are often walking away a lifetime of tangible possessions, some can be replaced tomorrow by your insurance, if indeed you are insured and fully covered for severe weather.

You may have items that are valuable and could be restored, probably losing a vast amount of value in the meantime. Then there are those possessions that hold no monetary value; a child’s first drawing, a greetings card from a long gone special person, photographs of past family members, old documents and deeds, gifts, souvenirs, hobbies, collections …the list can go on but the point being that these are items that money cannot replace.

So, if you are told to go now, it is likely you will be directed to a community centre, may be a vacant warehouse or other building that is considered safe.

Fight or Flight?

You have received news that your home is at high risk of severe flooding, putting your family and home in real danger.

  • Do you stay and do your best to make your home watertight?
  • Do you take heed and leave with whatever you can carry?
See results without voting

Community Spirit

True community spirit can be likened to the days of wartime air raid shelters in that people connect with each other, often strangers becoming friends.

The communal areas are usually organised and run by volunteers from charities such the W.I, Salvation Army and other kind groups. They will often provide soup and blankets, perhaps the local supermarkets will donate groceries for distribution.

You will need to find some floor space that you can call your home until the red tape is cut and you can contact your insurance company, even if it is just to cover you for hotel accommodation. If the area is to be flooded, then it won’t be too local and you need to plan your work, getting children to school etc.

Did you bring your phone charger? Credit cards? Are your possessions safe in this community centre and worse still, is your home safe from looting?

Villages Likened To Paddy Fields

Live UK flood alerts are now available in an effort to forewarn residents of imminent severe flooding
Live UK flood alerts are now available in an effort to forewarn residents of imminent severe flooding | Source

Who is On Your Side?

If you are not insured you will certainly be reliant upon gifts, charity and grants – with help from friends and family.

Let’s assume you have insurance cover and protected against flood damage. As much is it is the insurer’s job to settle up, it isn’t that easy, especially if the claim is going to be big, and it often is.

There are often two other parties involved; Loss adjusters and loss assessors, both insurance claims professionals but the main difference is in their roles.

Loss will adjusters work for the insurance company, employed and paid by them to represent their interests.

Loss assessors are deployed by you and will work for the policyholder. They are independent professionals and employed by you to protect your exclusive interests.

A loss adjuster is paid to adjust the claim downwards. They are paid by the insurer to inspect the premises and decide what the insurer will pay out for, and more importantly what they will not pay out for.

An independent loss assessor will take on all this responsibility on your behalf. It is good to have someone on your side, to deal with the insurer’s loss adjuster. It will be a stressful time and all too easy to give in, submit to the adjuster, just to move on.

The loss assessor is there to protect your interests every step of the way, focused on you receiving the absolute best settlement in accordance with the terms of your insurance policy.

It is crucially important to deploy an independent loss assessor immediately before you make your claim.

Un-insurable Property Can Be Insured Against Flooding

Even property that has been refused flood insurance can be insured when AST Floodwall is installed.
Even property that has been refused flood insurance can be insured when AST Floodwall is installed. | Source

Flood Damage Restoration

Your insurance company will want to settle with you and return you home as quickly as possible. However the road to settlement could well be long and full of obstacles.

The first barrier is the water itself and if there are hazards that prevent the inspectors entering your premises, there will be a delay in that very early stage until the water is reduced to an acceptable level and then deemed safe from hazards.

Then the battle of the agents commence until all parties agree on a settlement – then the work begins …but can only do so when the entire building is dry.

Firstly the visible water has to go and then all the water that has been absorbed into the floor and walls has to go and everything dried.

There is a lot of personal property that needs to be recovered and assessed, as well as all furniture and household items. Deciding what is to be put in the skip can add to the trauma but the job has to be done.

Probes are used to assess excess humidity and determine if the building is dry enough to commence work such as re-plastering, replacing skirting, floors, doors, even staircase, possibly windows.

Eventually, and it will seem like an eternity, your home will be habitable once more, although not quite the same as almost everything will be new. You will still have memories although you might not have your old personal possessions.

Preventing Flood Damage With Food Protection Systems

Will You Ever Get Food Damage Insurance Again?

As much as your home has been restored and you are back to some sort of normality, there are two further issues; will your insurance company decline to insure you anymore and how can you prevent further flood damage.

Sandbags For Flood Protection

As much as your home has been restored and you are back to some sort of normality, there are two further issues; will your insurance company decline to insure you anymore and how can you prevent further flood damage.

Hindsight is a fine thing and the saying “prevention is better than cure” can only serve to rub salt into the wound.

What would you have paid NOT to have gone through that living nightmare?

Install a domestic flood barrier?

Local councils do their best to provide sandbags and sometime will arrange for delivery to the elderly and infirm but let’s be practical and look at the logistics of using sandbags as a flood protection method.

Put aside the back-breaking labour intensive work involved in building a flood barrier made from sandbags, put aside the issue of how to back indoors once you have sealed your property with the sandbags, what happen if just one of the bags has a rip, tear or has come undone? – Not only is it going to be washed away but it renders the rest of the wall prone to letting water in.

The other danger and reality is the fact that sandbags to get stolen by selfish unscrupulous thieves.

Best types of flood protection

Sandbags are not the best solution for effective flood protection.
Sandbags are not the best solution for effective flood protection. | Source

Ultimate Flood Prevention

The ideal solution is simplicity in itself, an instant dam at points where flood water can enter your home.

There is a certain amount of initial preparation to install the frames, or sliders in which the barriers slot down. Think about medieval portcullis at castles, they had runners so the gates dropped down to perfectly fit and protect the entrances. These don’t however drop down from high, just slotted in by hand from the right height.

An AST Floodwall has a similar principal to those enemy defence systems except that the frame is fitted and sealed only around the area that requires protecting. This is generally doors, lower windows, garage and out buildings etc. The height is based on historic flood levels and the frame has to be fitted by qualified technicians as gaskets and seals.

So, whenever the need to protect against flooding, a lightweight but extremely strong barrier or wall is dropped into place and then secured to ensure it is watertight.

Floodwater can also come through airbricks, even toilets and shower drains, so there is a special seal to protect homes from flooding via other areas.

Insurance companies are also welcoming enquiries from homeowners who were once declined flood insurance cover.

Simple but cost effective and insurance approved flood protection system
Simple but cost effective and insurance approved flood protection system | Source

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Have you been hit by severe floods

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