Flood prevention and flood safety can save you time and money from one of the most common weather events in Ireland.
A flood can happen to anyone, so it’s important to find out if you have adequate protection for your home. Not all 123.ie Home Insurance policies cover flood damage, so be sure to check at the quote stage or on your insurance schedule.
For your home
You can follow these flood prevention tips to help reduce damage during a flood:
- Flood proofing your walls is important, you can use products such as liquid membranes, polymer/cement coatings, mastic asphalt or pre formed sheet membranes.
- Ensure that the seal around your window frames and doors are intact and have no cracks. Treat any wooden frames with paint, varnish or oil based waterproof stains.
- Some useful temporary defences that aid in the protection of your home include, sandbags, floodboards and wrapping.
- Ensure that you have the following materials available in the event of a flood; plywood, plastic sheeting, sandbags (unfilled), sand, nails, a hammer, shovel, bricks, blocks of wood and a saw.
- Raise your washer and dryer and other equipment such as TV's, computer's and electrical goods above ground level. If you're unable to raise a particular item, consider anchoring it and protecting it with a floodwall or shield.
- If you live in a flood risk area it is always a good idea to store any sentimental and personal items upstairs or above the highest possible flood level as these are impossible to replace.
- Landscape with native plants and vegetation that resist soil erosion.
- Stay vigilant and regularly inspect your property for cracks or gaps in the brickwork and floors or around windows, doors and pipes.
During a flood
When the water begins to rise, being calm will help to save your property and your family. Remember that the most important thing is to keep your family safe; however, if you have time to protect your belongings, take these flood protection steps:
- Turn off utilities at the main power switch.
- Move valuables such as important papers, jewellery and clothing to upper floors − or, if you only have one floor, put items on the top of shelves, tables or countertops.
- Place sandbags at doorways and any other entry points where water could gain access.
- Sanitize your bathtub and sinks and fill them with fresh, clean water in case the water supply becomes contaminated.
- Check food supplies.
- Have warm clothes and wellingtons to hand.
- Evacuate your house or move to upper floors if waters rise inside your home.
- As the floodwaters continue to rise, remember that the water is much stronger than you think:
- Don't drive through a flood. If you're unfortunate enough to be in your car when a flood occurs, abandon it and move to higher ground. Six inches of water can cause loss of control and possible stalling.
- Don't walk through flood areas. Just 6 inches of water can sweep you away.
- Stay away from downed power lines.
- Co-operate with emergency services and local authorities. You may be evacuated to emergency centres.
After officials have given the sign that you can return home, follow these tips:
- Before entering your home, check for structural damage.
- Ensure the power in your home is disconnected before you do anything.
- Check for the smell of gas, don't use matches or a lighter when entering your home.
- Keep power off until an electrician has inspected your system.
- Listen for reports to see when drinking water is safe again.
- Report your claim to your insurance company as soon as possible.
- Cleanup should begin as soon as waters recedes.
- Be careful when moving any debris and seek help in moving heavy or unstable items that could trap or crush you.
- Separate damaged from undamaged items, begin making a list of damaged property, and clean and disinfect everything that got wet.
- Remember that water can be contaminated. Wash your hands with disinfectant if they come into contact with floodwater or silt debris
This flood safety information is meant to help you make decisions that may reduce your risk. Of course, we can't note every possible risk, and we can’t guarantee that these tips will work for you. However, we hope that if you use some of them, you'll better protect your family and yourself.