Forecasters are warning of a flood risk to many parts of the UK following the aftermath of Storm Doris.
Many southern and eastern parts of the UK this year have already been battered by stormy weather, and with further wintry onslaughts to come.
It may be impossible to stop damage caused by storms or floods, but the devastation and loss of valuable personal belongings can be minimised by taking a few precautions.
(Scott Woods-Fehr/Flickr)(Scott Woods-Fehr/Flickr)
So to adjust a home to withstand a disaster, follow these 13 steps:
1) Get the right insurance:
During the severe storms of winter 2013-2014 insurance companies handled 18,700 flood claims and just under 450,000 storm damage claims. On average the cost of a claim is £1,500, but these can increase into the tens of thousands for damaged roofs and flooded properties.
2) Protect soft furnishings:
If a flooding is likely, move rugs or carpet cuttings upstairs and wrap curtains around railings to protect them.
3) Transfer costly possessions and important documents to a safe place:
Remove sentimental valuables and electrical goods off the floor or anywhere that water would reach, and store on higher ground or ideally upstairs in waterproof bags.
4) Check roofs:
In these harsh winter months, protecting any roofing from rain is one of the most important things to do, as tiles could easily fall off and produce a leaking roof. Restore any damaged areas immediately to minimise the changes of water coming in your house from above. Checking flat roofs is particularly important as they usually need re-covering every five to ten years.
5) Keep gutters clear:
A build up of leaves or debris in gutters can block pipes and drains and result in flooding.
6) Protect the weakest areas:
There are a number of ways floodwater can travel into a house. Besides entering via doors and patios, it can also take the route of air bricks, exposed walls and gaps in flooring. To ensure flooring is protected, replace carpet with solid wooden floorboards with concrete or lay tiles.
7) Look after the boiler and pipes:
Boilers should be serviced before any cold weather sets in, as well as the central heating, so they are ready and working for whenever they are needed the most. Installing one-way valves into drainage pipes will aid in averting sewage from backing up into the house via washing machines, sinks and toilets.
8) Move plug sockets higher up:
The higher the electrical sockets the higher the chances of missing any water levels.
9) Replaster internal walls:
Make use of water-resistant material, such as lime plaster or cement render to minimise damage to your walls.
10) Block large entrances:
If a local residential area is particularly prone to high levels of flooding, install water-resistant doors and window frames.
11) Stock up on sandbags:
Invest in sandbags and flood boards to block doorways. These will aid in preventing flooding from seeping into your home.
12) List useful contacts and keep informed:
Jot down important numbers, for example: Floodline, any home insurance provider and policy number, and keep this information to hand. Make sure to keep an eye on The Weather Channel website for any news or updates.
13) Pack a flood kit:
Should an evacuation of a property occur, it is very helpful to have an emergency kit to hand of personal IDs, spare clothes and any essential medication.
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