Minimise flood damage to your Cambridge property
7th January 2014
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Look out of the window and you're more than likely going to see rain. A lot of it.

Already we have been inundated with reports of weather warnings, severe flooding, huge areas without electricity. And Cambridgeshire has seen a number of incidents due to flooding, with roads closed and river banks breaking.

So ask yourself – are you adequately prepared for the damage that flooding may do to your Cambridge home? Here is our top checklist to minimise the stress, hassle and danger that flooding can bring.

Do you have adequate buildings and contents cover? Have you advised your insurance company if you live in a flood risk area?

If you do live in a flood risk area, have you taken the time to find out how flood warnings will be issued and what you are meant to do to protect yourself, your family, home and belongings?

Have you created a simple flood defence plan? By checking how many ground floor doors, cat flap and air bricks you have, you can then get the right amount of strong plastic sheeting to cover these gaps – gaps that water will easily be able to get through otherwise. Make sure that you leave an overlap of at least 80cm around these edges in case some water is still able to leak through. You will also need to get a stock of plastic or cloth bags that can be filled with sand or soil to keep the sheeting in place.

If a flood warning is issued, you will want to alert other residents in your home and any immediate neighbours – particular the elderly or vulnerable who may need help in staying safe and securing their property.

All people, pets and valuables need to be moved to safe place (higher ground) as quickly as possible. You will want to do the same with your car or it may end up submerged.

And if flooding is imminent, make sure you switch off your gas and electricity before leaving your property.

What if my home is flooded?

As soon as the floodwater has subsided and it is safe to return to your Cambridge home, you will want to return it to a habitable condition. However, it is important that you take plenty of photographs of the damage and mark the highest level of the floodwater on the wall in order to send documentation to your insurance company when making a claim.

Clear standing water

You will need to clear standing water as soon as you possibly can so you will need a water pump. Remember though – if there isn't any mains electricity, you will also need a portable generator.

If you have deep water in a basement or cellar, it is suggested that you contact a structural engineer before pumping the water out in case of any structural damage to your Cambridge property.

Check your utilities

You will also want to have your electrical and gas supplies checked by a fully qualified and registered professional to be safe. They may appear fine but your systems could have been damaged during the flood, making them extremely dangerous.

Remove wet furnishings

Remove furniture, bedding, rugs, curtains and clothing and take them outside to dry. If mildew and mould spores have already developed on furnishings, brush them off while outside in order to stop spores from scattering and developing in your home.

Clean and dry carpets

Unfortunately, if sewage contaminated floodwater has covered your carpeting or rugs, or if your flooring has been underwater for more than 24 hours, you will need to get rid of it. However, if you are able to rescue your carpets, you will need to drape them outside and hose them down. Use disinfectant carpet cleaner to deal with soiled spots and deal with mould, mildew or odour by using a solution of bleach and water (not suitable on nylon or wool carpeting).

And of course, make sure that your carpet is completely dry before refitting in your Cambridge home.

Need professional help?

If you need new carpets or the help of a painter and decorator after the clean-up is over, check out our list of highly recommended tradesmen covering Cambridge and beyond.

Please click here for more information about the tradesmen listing on thebestof Cambridge.

About the Author

Ian C

Member since: 9th July 2012

I run thebestof Cambridge. My aim is to help make the best local businesses shine! Afterall, they are the best for a reason worth shouting about. Outside of work I enjoy playing football, swimming and...

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