How to Survive a Flood while Bugging In
Flooding has a devastating impact on communities throughout the UK.
This causes local areas to be completely cut off for long periods of time.
As Emergency services struggle to cope, military intervention is often called on to bring aid to those affected.
It becomes impossible to leave once severe flooding takes place. Fast moving water sweeps through bringing anything not bolted down along with it.
Objects as large as cars and uprooted trees are swept away. This causes damage to property and endangers the lives of people not prepared.
What Causes UK Flooding?
There are certain geographical and weather related causes of flooding in the UK.
Extreme rainfall causes flash floods where an area has experienced a months rain in the space of just a few hours.
If this is experienced after a period of rain previously then the land is already saturated.
Heavy snow fall can often have a similar effect.
If the snow experiences a rapid thaw then this will cause the same problems as heavy rainfall.
River banks can often overflow out onto the surrounding area.
The water will subsequently try to find alternative run off which unfortunately may be built up areas such as towns or villages.
Flooding may also be caused by the sea.
Extreme off shore weather can result in high tide levels which is usually accompanied with increased wind speeds.
Obviously each one of these causes alone is bad enough but when they occur together, it can be a recipe for disaster.
Long Term Flood Defences
Take a look at where you live and where you plan to bug in and think about Flood risk management.
There will naturally be places which are more likely to flood and those which are a better choice for shoring up.
It is recommended that vegetation such as trees and bushes are planted near to river banks as they offer natural defence and improve the soil structure.
You may also want to do this around the perimeter of your home.
It makes the soil less likely to be swept away and offers a more permanent structural defence.
You should also think of walls or thick wooden fencing with decent foundations to surround your property.
These can also be further protected at a later date with more temporary flood defences such as sand bags.
Dig trenches a metre down by a metre wide around the perimeter of your property.
Once dug, fill the trenches back up with rock and cover the last 30cm with top soil.
After a while natural vegetation will grow back making the trenches invisible and you will have added further flood protection.
Preparing for a Flood
Sand bags or Flood bags are a great flood barrier to have ready.
Positioning Sand bags around external and internal doors will greatly help to provide you with a flood proof house.
If the correct quantity is built up, this flood prevention may in fact stop water from entering the building completely.
Of course this is dependent on the level and ferocity of the incoming flood water.
Sand bags should also be placed across any weak areas present around the perimeter of your property.
Bring all of your outdoor furniture inside along with anything electrical or precious from your out buildings or garage.
Start to move as much as possible from the ground floor to upper floors of your property.
Any heavy objects should be raised as high as possible in the room where they are already situated.
Check you prepping gear is in one place and preferably the highest safest place possible.
As well as your prepping gear, think about important documents, family photos and anything you consider irreplaceable.
Ideally these should now be placed in water proof folders to prevent any damage from occurring.
If you are thinking of getting up into the loft or attic space then a sledge hammer is a sensible thing to store up there.
If the flood water rises too high, you will still be able to break through the roof and not be trapped.
You are also more likely to be rescued quickly from your roof top if need be.
Be sure you know where your fuse box and gas supply is located so that you can quickly turn these off too.
Fully charge all devices especially mobile phones.
During a Flood
Stay in your home or bug in location whenever possible.
Trying to move on foot in a flood situation can be dangerous and should be avoided.
Most vehicles will stall in flooded water so remember emergency response will be limited.
If your gas and electricity hasn’t already been turned off then do this next.
Get to the highest safest part of the building and check your prepping items and 72 hour survival gear is present.
Check where your exit points are remembering that if the water rises upwards then your escape route should follow suit.
Use your wind up radio or battery operated radio to check on the situation and for any evacuation planned.
After a Flood
The first thing to do is assess the damage that has occurred.
If you have insurance then fully document and photograph damage before repair.
Security is your first concern so check the exterior and make sure that there is no damage that may allow people to easily enter your property.
Fix any problems as soon as possible and get back indoors.
I’m sure you want to get the power back on but thoroughly check to see that all wiring is damage free and dry first.
Make sure that there is no damage to gas pipes too.
Candles and flames are okay as long as the gas remains off but can become life threatening if your gas supply is turned back on and there is a leak.
Avoid floodwater as it can be contaminated by chemicals or sewage.
Just because your electricity is off does not mean that any remaining flood water isn’t live.
Downed power lines or damaged supplies in the local area could still electrify flood water.
Do not drink your tap water until you have had word from the local authority that it is safe to do so.
Broken sewage and water pipes can easily cross contaminate.
If you are caught short then filter and purify your tap water in the mean time.
Things will take a while to get back to normal so make sure you and your family are safe and secure first.
Venture out only when you’re sure it’s safe to do so and then offer any help to your neighbours.