WARNING Long Article.
Stock up on coffee, tea, and biscuits before reading.
Living 500 m from the sea, all be it behind one massive sea wall, there is always the risk of being flooded out.
The town we live in was partially flooded in 1953 and after that the sea defenses were built to last BIG TIME. However you can never be too careful and it seems that the local authorities are still taking this scenario seriously and we get regular updates of the potential flood state from the Environmental Agency in the form of text and phone warnings.
So what to do in the case of a flood. Were there ‘guides’ to help us?
Yes, bus some of the government advice was obviously written up by committee.
As such it is basic, generic, and without regard to our particular problems.
It also seems to have never heard of preppers or survivalists, how they do things, and how most of us are aware of the problems the authorities can cause the well prepared.
If that sounds a bit arrogant it was not meant to be.
HOWEVER the nine words everyone should be worried about are:-
“I am from the government and here to help”.
Thus we have drawn up plans which are ‘somewhat divorced’ from the advice from what TPTB suggest. For example:
Our Flooding Plans have two priorities.
Self preservation and a quick safe exit to high ground being the first.
Or, shelter in place.
Both involve, time permitting, slowing the ingress of water into our home in the hope that a flood will be short-term and cause little damage.
Common entry points for flood ingress into a building are.
Doors, ventilation brick, cellar (basements).
Drains, access (manhole covers) and rodding points, toilets, baths, sinks, washing machine waste outlets, and central heating condensation drain pipes.
Basic Requirements / Actions
(Priority is identified as # and #####=Absolutely Must Do)
#####Doors and ventilation bricks need to be sealed with plastic sheet and sandbags to slow seepage.
#Sink and #####bath plugs need to be fitted and sandbagged to stop back flow.
######Toilets need a small plastic bag filled with sand pushed into the bowl and sandbagged on top of that.
#Caution, don’t forget the overflows.
For them I suggest canned expanding foam squirted into the hole. (Spray and forget).
# (two) Drain (manholes) access and rodding points need sandbagging.
#Action for Washing machine drainage and central heating drain pipes.
#Remove hoses. Cover the end of the static pipe with plastic and seal it with fabric (gaffer) tape. If you cannot remove hoses, wrap with plastic and tape securely.
This to stop back pressure forcing sewage back into the home and eruptions of sewage near to the house.
Remember, at best all this will do is DELAY water ingress if the flooding is long-term.
Immediate actions on receiving notification of imminent flooding.
Seal house as above.
Crunch time, how long would that take?
I reckon 1-2 hours.
#Move all valuables into the roof space.
Include anything that is portable or easily collapsible and will fit through the roof access hatchway. The less you leave downstairs, the less will have to be replaced.
Keep straps and cord to hand to aid rolling items and lifting.
Have a basic tool kit to aid disassembly of items.
Include a pry bar and rip saw.
Maintain a good store of large bin bags and fabric backed (gaffer) tape in the roof space.
Have torches and spare batteries to allow continued working should power fail.
Install tea candle lanterns plus spare candles and multiple lighters for long-term illumination in the roof space, ready to light.
#Move mattresses, #bedding, curtains, #rugs, cushions, and #non-essential fabrics into the roof space. Packing them into waterproof bags or at least plastic bin bags.
#Move whatever non refrigerated food stuff you have into the roof space.
#Move all important paperwork to the roof space in a sealed plastic bag.
#####Don’t forget your grab bags!
Crunch Time, how long will that take us?
About an hour to shift everything and an hour plus to sort things out.
It’s the shifting that will take priority, once stuff is there, sorting can be done gradually.
Potentially that’s 4 hours.
So we’ll do what we can, some stuff will be left.
All ##### gets priority as that is what may help to save us and prevent damage.
We have two options at this time.
Shelter in place or evacuate.
The official advice is to NEVER OCCUPY THE ROOF SPACE EVEN IF YOU HAVE EASY (SKYLIGHT) EXIT ONTO TO THE ROOF. (Shrugging of shoulders)
Even with tools, trying to exit through the roof covering will be difficult and leave the roof damaged allowing the ingress of rain. Those tools should include a pry bar and rip saw for roof trusses and battens. Yet, it is something we may have to do if the worst happens too quickly for a controlled evacuation.
If you are proposing to shelter in place, ensure you can move around easily by previously floor boarding the maximum you can within the roof space. Remember it is not only about moving around but providing a stable surface to store things. As such, non ‘traffic’ areas can be battened to form open spaced shelving. This will save you money.
#####At least 5 days water i.e. 10 gallons (45 liters) per person.
Do not trust that the mains water will remain potable.
#####A basic toilet and washing facilities.
#####A basic stove, cooking pots and utensils.
Note, using any stove is a carbon monoxide risk.
Work out how you can remove a tile or shingle to allow smoke or fumes to escape.
In such a confined area, unless you can rig up a chimney, don’t use a stove for heating.
You need a clear of clutter NOMINATED space for a full size mattress.
#####A first aid kit and #####personal medicines for at least two weeks.
#####Adequate outdoors clothing to keep warm and dry.
#####Include multiple pairs of footwear.
#####Plus your grab bags.
Each person has one and each should contain identical items in case one is lost.
Communications. (For us)
#####A domestic radio, our ship to shore radio, plus spare batteries for all.
Why a ship to shore? We have an inshore lifeboat station and a coast watch station nearby and rescue helicopters can use maritime VHF channels.
Finally a mobile phone and battery charger pack.
If flooding is imminent, move any vehicles to high ground if that is close to you.
(Except high ground for us is 8 miles away so not such a great idea).
DO NOT leave your home without taking your grab bag with you.
You may not be able to return because of sudden flooding, or be prevented by the authorities (here to help) from returning home.
We should receive warnings of evacuation.
Carry out the listed building protection plan including the movement of valuable items into the roof space.
DO NOT BE RUSHED BY THE AUTHORITIES.
Once you are ready to go, ensure you take your grab bag as per the contents list.
Turn off the electricity, gas, and mains water supply before you leave.
If you have a cellar, don’t enter it unless it is dry .
Some Cellars contain power boards, gas & fuel stops, and water stop cocks.
If present, turn these off as soon as you can.
NEVER enter a cellar that is wet.
Ensure your home is secure. Do not leave windows or doors open or unlocked.
Use your pre-planned area exit plans.
Be prepared for the authorities to interfere with those plans.
Never let go of your grab bags or let TPTB search them.
##### Grab Bag contents #####
I prefer a backpack. It centralizes the load and keeps your hands free.
Line the bag with waterproof material.
Shelter (Survival bag), lightweight weight sleeping bag.
Water purification (Survival straw), fire making materials, medical kit and medicines.
Add a small clothing maintenance kit, needles and threads.
Personal hygiene i.e. sanitary items, soap, tooth-brush, tooth paste, razors, combs.
Toilet rolls, hand wipes and water free sanitizer.
Ingress tools and COVERT (as we are in the UK) self-defense weaponry.
This should include a visible knife worn on a belt or backpack strap for easy access.
Cooking pot and utensils, basic supplies for 3 hot meals and drinks.
A domestic radio, torch, communications, and lots of spare batteries.
Communications should include a radio and hand-held flares.
Spare under clothing, socks, cold and wet wear.
(Hypothermia is a danger even in summer)
PPE for Lungs, eyes, ears, touch and physical damage, plus decontamination material.
Your document pack, money, and identification.
A special note for pets.
#Include a few days foodstuff and don’t forget any medication, a leash, documentation and ‘poo bags’.
Be prepared for the authorities to deny shelter for them.
Also be aware that whatever they promise, your pet is of no consequence to them.
(Here to help)
Survival in floods.
Moving water that is deeper than your ankles can sweep you off your feet.
You cannot see under flood water so always use a staff to check for debris, the soundness of what you are walking on, the depth of water, and as an aid to stability.
If you have to cross moving water, rope together but only cross one at a time.
Walk into the flow and diagonally across it to your destination.
Never carry stuff in both hands and undo any backpack belt clasps to allow a fast discard should you fall over.
A word on boats.
Use oars or paddles as you won’t know what’s under the water or what the depth is.
Visible currents may not be indicative of speed of flow.
DO NOT RECOVER OTHERS.
Their weight and inexperience getting in could flip the boat.
Hypothermia will be a problem even in summer.
Stay out of the flood water as it will contain all sorts of contaminates.
If you do get wet, decontaminate at the earliest opportunity.
All foodstuff and water you find must be considered contaminated.
CAUTION: Electricity lines can remain live under water.
Don’t smoke or use naked flames as escaping gas and floating chemicals could ignite.
Practice the basic rule of threes of survival.
Look after only you and your own, unless it is to your advantage.
People will do anything to survive including murder and worse so trust no one.
Remember the self-defense Gold rule that Distance is king in combat.