What to do when you first return to your property
When you return to your home or business after a flood, you may encounter a large amount of damage both to the walls and structure of your building, as well as to your contents. This page will give some guidance and tips for what to do when you arrive at your building following a flood.
Please select the appropriate selection below:
When returning to your property
- Do not walk or drive through floodwater
When returning to your property, stay out of water unless this is urgent and unavoidable. There are often hidden dangers below the surface – potholes, open drainage culverts and manholes, debris which can entangle you and drag you under. Moving flood water is even more dangerous – even shallow depths can pull you over or sweep your car away.
- Do not turn on the mains services to your property
If these were turned off before you left your property, check with your utility service (including gas, electric, and water) provider that it is safe to do so. They may need to inspect your property before you can safely turn on and use these services.
- Check your property for visible signs of structural damage
If there are any (or you are unsure) then contact your buildings insurer for advice. They will help you to appoint a building surveyor to arrange an inspection. Details of how to find a RICS accredited building surveyor in your local area are available here.
- Wear suitable protective clothing and footwear
It is possible that the floodwaters contained sewage or other contamination which will remain in the property after the water has receded and could make you ill.
- Always have a means of communications
Make sure you have a working mobile phone with you so you can call for help. As the electricity may remain turned off, you may have to rely on the phone, rather than your computer, to contact necessary organisations (such as your insurer, builder, or for de-humidifier services).
Additional advice if this a business premises
- Do not ask them to return to work there until you are sure that it is safe to do so. If you have arranged alternative accommodation (either as part of a pre-arranged disaster recovery plan or ad hoc) then you should ask them to work from that location instead (though first check that their contract of employment permits you to do this).
- Check with your staff what personal belongings they left at the property that have been lost or damaged in the flood. Ask for evidence of their value, in case these can be included in the insurance claim.
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