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Tide and Time Waits for No Man

Flooding is a very real threat. We are now entering the time of year when the worst of the weather can bite and the Met office issues warnings of flash floods and severe or extreme weather across the UK. Many factors contribute at a local level, from the run-off from melting snow adding to the already over burdened drainage systems, or sodden ground struggling to deal with the influx of water and chaos can ensue. So just how can you protect your home?

Firstly, think ahead. You will know if you live on a flood plain (your insurance company can give you guidance on this), and if your property is located near to rivers or fords, it pays to think ahead. Coastal properties have their own problems with seasonal high tides, which can be whipped into a frenzy by gales and can cause problems which ripple inland. Some of the things you can do to mitigate the damage and disruption to life which will surely happen if you are unlucky enough to be flooded are listed below.

Medium Flood Risk

> Unplug electrical equipment and store it as high as possible. (In fact, it is prudent to unplug electrical items if you are out of the house or in bed)

> Locate your home insurance policy details. Then, should you need to make a call to being the claims process you will have all the information to hand, thus saving much time and stress

> Make sure you put any items of sentimental value – such as jewellery and photos, in a safe (high) place. These cannot be replaced, so pack them into a safe box and store as high up as possible

> An emergency kit is a good idea – pop in blankets, torches, waterproof clothing, food, water and a first aid kit. A really good idea is to purchase lightweight fleece or acrylic blankets as these pack up quite tightly. A sports back-pack will allow you to place the items you need in a relatively rainproof bag which is easy to carry should you need to wade through water or move quickly

> Learn how to turn off the electricity and gas supply, make sure you know where these are – and how to find them and switch them off in the dark

> Prepare a list of emergency phone numbers – including insurance, emergency help-lines and your local water company

> Make copies of all your important document and store them in a safe, dry place which is easily accessible. Think about places on the second floor or the top of a kitchen cupboard

Very Real Flood Risk

> Move as much furniture as possible upstairs

> Place sandbags outside your property, taking care to block entry points such as doorways and vents

> If flooding is inevitable, turn off mains supplies of water, gas and electricity

After The Flood

> Take photos of any damage

> Call your insurance provider as soon as possible after the water has entered your home. They will then assign drying equipment to the home which will speed up the recovery process

> Ventilate your property as much as possible – but make sure you are aware of security issues and ensure the property is not made vulnerable through open windows and doors

> Keep ruined furniture until after the claim has been settled, some providers will need to inspect the actual damage to carpets, soft furnishings and furniture for themselves

No matter what precautions you take, being flooded is a most traumatic event. It will take you months to get your life back together again, both on a practical and emotional level. By acting on the points above you can at least keep safe your more precious items and be ready should the worst happen. Whether you are in a high-risk flood area or not, make sure you have adequate insurance in place. Talk to a professional insurance company: Westhill Insurance Services have a wealth of knowledge and can advise on properties requiring specialist flood insurance as well as those who need standard, but comprehensive, cover also.

There is more than one way to make a splash – don't sink without trace because you are under-insured. Act now in case the tides of nature turn again you!

Contact Westhill Insurance Services, today.

Posted on 12th December, 2010