My 8 year old has stepped up to the challenge to answer these questions and become our Family Flood Marshall.
Our home has never yet been in a flood, but some of my children's schoolfriends aren't so lucky. In December 2015 hurricanes Desmond and Eva caused 16,000 homes in the UK to be flooded. Many of those homes hadn't ever flooded in the past, and fairly close to us, a 200 year old pub was washed away. Nature likes to surprise us.
1. Are we in danger? The first thing the Family Flood Marshall needs to know, is if we are in danger of flooding. Listen to the radio, watch the news and weather reports, and if you feel you are at risk, you can always get the most up-to-date information available from the Environment Agency Flood Information Service or by calling Floodline 0345 988 1188.
2. What do the Flood Warning Triangles mean? A Family Flood Marshall needs to be able to decipher the Flood Warning Symbols. So, armed with merely paper, felt tipped pens and the entire knowledge of the world to date, our 8 year old Marshall searched the Internet....
Flood Alerts - Flooding Is Possible. Be Prepared.
Flood Warnings - Flooding Is Expected. Immediate Action Is Required.
Severe Flood Warnings - Severe Flooding. Danger To Life.
Warnings No Longer In Force.
Nicely covered there, I'm sure you'll agree....
3. What is a Personal Flood Plan? Every household should have a plan for emergencies, and all occupants should know what to do if there is a flood, fire or other unforseen disaster. Getting to safety is the no.1 priority. Life is always the most precious thing you have, no possession has any value to you without it.
The Personal Flood Plan is a collection of information that may be valuable in a flood, and ticklists of things you can do to minimise damage if you have time to do them safely before you evacuate your home.
Some things need to be prepared in advance, but you should start to implement your plan as soon as you know there is danger or when the 'Flood Alert - be prepared' orange warning triangle stage comes into force.
- In advance find out where to get sandbags (builder's merchants) and identify where to use them on your property.
- Prepare a Flood Kit - this should contain at minimum warm and waterproof clothes, phone, money, torch and batteries, medication, food and fresh drinking water, baby and infant essentials, toys for children, pet food.
- Place important documents and valuables out of risk and protect in plastic bags.
- Identify which items you would have to take if you are evacuated, and how you are going to carry it.
- Make a list of useful contacts (insurance company and policy number, keyholders, neighbours, utilities, council etc.).
- Know the locations of stopcocks, fuse boxes and gas switch-off taps and turn them off when flooding is likely.
- Move as much as possible out of the flood's path or make it safe to prevent more damage - including rolling up carpets and weighing down loose items.
Having gained all this knowledge, it's up to the Family Flood Marshall to share it, and answer that all important question - Who is responsible for protecting our homes from flooding?
Thank you to my sources: You can read more of the results from the UKDN Waterflow Flooding Survey here, or find out more about the December 2015 hurricanes Desmond and Eva from The BBC News
My son and I were paid for the time taken to create this post.