Flooding preparedness

The major flooding events we have seen across the UK over the last few years serve to remind us of the devastating affects flooding can have on our homes, travel and work life.

Caerphilly County Borough Council area is no different from the rest of the UK and almost every location can be prone to flooding, even if you don’t live near a river.

Flooding can happen very quickly and suddenly so the time to think about it is now and not wait until it happens.  The better prepared you are, the better you’ll cope if it happens to you or your family.

What to do before, during and after a flood

Be prepared

  • The first step in being prepared is to find out if you are at risk of flooding.  You can find out if your property is at risk by visiting the Natural Resources Wales website or by calling Floodline on 0345 9881188.

  • If you live or work in a flood risk area, you may be able to sign up to ‘Floodline Warnings Direct’ and receive free advance notice of flooding.  Call Floodline to find out if warnings are available in your area.

  • Update your ‘Home Emergency Plan’ so that items that may be needed during a flood are included.  These could be, the locations of your gas, electricity and water mains; contact details for people you may need to get in touch with in an emergency; and insurance policy numbers.  Once completed, you should keep your flood plan somewhere safe and easy to reach in a waterproof folder.  Alternatively you could prepare a separate ‘Personal Flood Plan’.  The Natural Resources Wales website has a template that can be downloaded.

  • Include additional items in your ‘Home Emergency Kit’ such as rubber gloves, wellington boots and waterproof clothing.

  • There may be a need for you to leave your home during a flood event, so make sure your ‘Go Bag’ is up to date and easily accessible.

  • If you don’t already have a ‘Home Emergency Plan’; ‘Home Emergency Kit’ or a ‘Go Bag’, visit the Emergency Planning Pages on the Council’s website, where you will find a booklet titled ‘What to do in an emergency…’ which provides some simple advice on the steps you can take to keep you and your family safe, as well as explaining what the Council and other agencies are doing to prepare for major emergencies.

  • Survey your home to identify the ways in which floodwater may enter the property and consider ways to prevent this occurring during a flood.  For example, consider keeping sandbags and plastic sheets to hand to put in front of entrances to your property.  You could also consider purchasing flood boards as another method of prevention. Although the Council cannot endorse any flood protection products, the National Flood Forum has produced the ‘Blue Pages’ which is a directory of property flood products and services put together to advise and inform you of the range of products available to help reduce the risk of flooding to your home or business.

The council recognises that the primary responsibility for protecting property from risk of flooding rests with the private property owner.  It is also aware of the considerable efforts put in by Natural Resource Wales to notify property owners in flood risk areas of the risk they face and encourage them to plan their own arrangements to protect themselves and their properties.

The council supports this approach and urges those living within areas identified as being at risk from flooding to follow the advice of the Natural Resource Wales.  Property Owners need to be aware that, in the event of the threat of flooding in Caerphilly County Borough Council area, the Council may not have resources necessary to support property owners at risk and that priorities will have to be made.  This could inevitably lead to some properties flooding, which with some pre-planned preventative measures by the occupant, could be avoided or minimised.

What to do during a flood

  • Activate your ‘Home Emergency’ or ‘Personal Flood Plan’.
  • Phone Flood Warnings Direct for the latest information for your area.
  • Tune in to the local radio/TV station for the latest flooding updates.
  • Move valuables, photographs and sentimental items to a safe place e.g. upstairs.
  • If possible move rugs and lightweight items of furniture upstairs.
  • Throw curtains over the rail out of reach of flood water.
  • Raise heavy electrical items such as fridges, freezers, washing machines on bricks.
  • Be ready to turn off gas and electricity (get help if needed).
  • To stop flood water entering your home; put plugs in sinks and weigh down with heavy objects; plug water inlet pipes with towels or cloths and disconnect washing machines and dishwashers to prevent backflow. Also lower toilet lids and place weights on them.
  • Put sandbags or flood boards in place – but make sure property is ventilated.
  • Locate your ‘Home Emergency Kit’ and ‘Go Bag’ and where possible prepare to move your family and pets upstairs or to a safe place with a means of escape.
  • Alert your neighbours, especially the elderly.
  • Do as much as you can in the daylight. Doing anything in the dark will be a lot harder, especially if the electricity fails.

Be safe in a flood

  • Do not leave your home or enter floodwater unless directly instructed to do so by the emergency services. Flood water can be extremely dangerous and can hide hazards.
  • Do not try to walk or drive through floodwater, six inches of fast flowing water can knock you over and two feet will float your car.
  • Manhole covers may come off and there may be other hazards you can’t see.
  • Avoid contact with flood water where possible as it may be contaminated with sewerage or chemicals.
  • What to do after a flood:
  • If you have left your property, find out from emergency services if it is safe to re-enter.
  • Take care when re-entering your property as there may be hidden dangers caused by flooding such as structural damage and contamination.
  • If possible take photographs of the damage to your property.
  • Call your insurance company (24hour) Emergency Helpline as soon as possible.  They will be able to provide information on dealing with your claim, and provide assistance in getting things back to normal.

Cleaning up after a flood

  • Remember when clearing up that flood water can contain sewage and chemicals and even though it has been diluted you should always wear waterproof gloves and clothing, wellington boots and a face mask.
  • Clean & disinfect your property using ordinary household products.
  • Use a normal garden hose to wash down surfaces.
  • If you are drying your property naturally, keep windows and doors open as much as possible.
  • If using dehumidifiers close all windows and doors.
  • Throw away any food that may have been in contact with flood water as it may have become contaminated.
  • Beware of bogus traders.  Always check references and if possible get recommendations.
  • Make sure that all electrics and your central heating are checked by qualified electricians and engineers before switching them back on.

Further advice and guidance

Useful contact details:

  • Emergency Services 999 (Emergencies Only)

Caerphilly County Borough Council

  • Main Switchboard: 01443 815588/01495 226622
  • Emergency Out of Hours: 01443 875500
  • Highways Operations Customer Care (Daytime): 01495 235323

National Resources Wales
www.naturalresourceswales.gov.uk
Floodline: 0345 9881188
Incident Hotline: 0800 807060

Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water
www.dwrcymru.com
Water services and emergencies: 0800 052 0130
Sewerage services and emergencies: 0800 085 3968

Met Office
www.metoffice.gov.uk
Weather desk: 0370 900 0100

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