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What happens When

The Rough Guide Series

Collated from our main Safe Survival and Prepardeness main home site

Click here for an overview and chapter list

Section 1
Natural Disasters - What happens when we have a major flood?

The following are extracts, collated into important ‘bullet’ points for ease of reference, taken from our article on Flooding Preparedness at:


One of the main problems during flooding is the effects and reaction to electricity - water and electrics are a dangerous and lethal combination. Ensure you and your family are aware of this and know how and where to safely cut the power to your property in an emergency.


In addition, if you have to evacuate your home, you may also have to switch off the mains gas supply, again ensure you know where the supply switch is located. Remember, if you switch off the gas supply, it is recommended that it is switched back on by a registered gas fitter/engineer in case of gas leaks


Learn and practice your evacuation routes, remember, when the disaster hits, many people will be attempting to exit an area at the same time. There could delays on the highway and fuel stations could run dry and so on.


When a flood watch is issued:


  • Instruct your family on the location of the emergency kit, and ensure they know your evacuation procedures, which should have already been arranged
  • Move any valuables and furniture to a higher floor


  • Prepare your vehicle in case of evacuation, fuel supply etc


  • Move pets to safety
  • Alert neighbours, especially the elderly or informed


  • Have a few flood boards or sandbags prepared to block doorways and airbricks


When a flood warning is issued;


  • Listen to the local radio/TV and weather stations for updates
  • Be prepared to evacuate immediately, if not already done so
  • Avoid locations near streams or rivers – aim for higher ground
  • If you get vehicle gets stuck in rising waters, abandon the vehicle immediately and head for higher ground.


Safety advice:


  • Continue to monitor local Radio stations in the event of further severe weather
  • Avoid disaster areas – Give the emergency services time to clear hazardous areas and to avoid crumbling roads, landslides and mudfalls
    • Assist any neighbour, especially the elderly or those with children
    • Seek medical care/advice if required.
    • Report broken power lines or gas leaks immediately to the appropriate authorities.
    • Wear strong boots or Wellingtons to avoid damage to the feet.
    • Keep an eye out for any dangerous and venomous animals, such as snakes and rats that may have been washed into your home.
    • Avoid walking or driving through floodwater. There may be underlying dangers, such as open manhole/inspection covers and other hazards.
    • Never try to swim through fast flowing water, you may be swept away by fast moving water or struck by an object in the water
    • Be wary of bridges or riverbanks, they may collapse.
    • Avoid contact with floodwater, it is possible it will be contaminated

After a flood:


Be cautious, and bear in mind the following points;


  • The foundations of your house may have been weakened
  • Electrical system may have shorted, check your power before switching on and ensure no standing water is in your vicinity. If in doubt, call in a professional. The same applies to the gas system, and in this case a gas professional should definitely be called.
  • Contact your home insurance company for advice
  • Take photographs of damage to your home
  • Throw out any waste materials that have entered the house, wear gloves and protecting clothing to avoid risk of injury or infection.
  • Make safe any damage (to prevent further damage) to the house until you can call in a professional.
  • Make a recovery plan
  • Dry out your home as soon as possible to prevent mildew
  • Restore domestic utilities call in a professional to be safe.
  • Clean up as best you can by disinfecting and scrubbing down floors, walls and cupboards.
  • Service any damaged cesspools as soon as possible to avoid health hazards
  • Check to see what financial assistance you may qualify for, such as disaster funds etc
Rebuild and protect from future similar disasters

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