Flooding. We are here to help. A Practical Guide to dealing with. if you have a problem, we have the solution.

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1 A Practical Guide to dealing with Flooding We are here to help if you have a problem, we have the solution. Ideal House, Crismill Lane, Maidstone, Kent ME14 3LY Helpline:

2 Introduction The Ideal Group practical guide to dealing with flooding has been developed to give you as a business manager, facilities manager, landlord or householder the information you need to prepare for and respond to a flood. It s important to recognise that flooding is a stressful event and is likely to result in significant loss and disruption. In this guide we cover the following: What is flooding? Types of flood Preparing for a flood Dealing with a flood After the flood Immediate action Choosing a specialist cleaning & restoration contractor Hopefully, armed with this information, you will be able to take the actions necessary to keep any impact of flooding on your or your business to a minimum. What is Flooding? A flood is defined by the European Union (EU) Floods Directive as the covering by water of land not normally covered by water. The Oxford Online Dictionary defines it as An overflow of a large amount of water beyond its normal limits, especially over what is normally dry land. However you define it flooding is one of the most destructive and dangerous incidents that can befall a building and its inhabitants, and one of the most difficult to protect against. The bad news is that climatologists are forecasting that flooding events will become increasingly more common as sea levels rise and extreme rains increase. Ideal Group Ltd

3 Types of flood There are many types of flood with different causes and different characteristics, and they can cause different problems for in protection and recovery. The main types of flood are: Coastal flooding River flooding Flash flooding Groundwater flooding Reservoir flooding Sewer flooding Water mains flooding Internal water supply flooding You should be aware of the risks posed to your building by each type in order to effectively prepare for an incident. See Annex 1 for more details on types of flooding. Preparing for a flood Risk assessment As with any other business continuity issue you should start with a risk assessment. No business will be completely free of risk but clearly some locations are more susceptible than others. If your building is on the coast, on a river flood plain, in a reservoir flood area, if you have experienced flooding before then you will probably see a higher risk. Structural preparations If you are in an area which is known to suffer flooding or is at high risk you should consider some structural changes to your building to minimise the damage that flooding would cause: Buy flood boards for doors Have airbrick covers Raise the damp proof course Raise electrical outlets above floor level Fit non-return valves in sewage pipes These things can help to reduce flooding into the building but are unlikely to protect you completely. Some water is very likely to get inside. There are other precautions you can take to minimise the damage this water will cause: Fit water resistant skirting or varnish wooden skirting Fit plasterboard horizontally rather than vertically Use lime based plaster rather than gypsum Ideal Group Ltd

4 Floor with hard tiles and use rugs rather than using fitted carpet Use PVC window frames or varnish wooden frames Fit shelving which can be used to store valuable items off the ground Fit TVs or other audio visual equipment high up (more than 1.5m) on walls Flood plan Develop a flood plan. This should identify: Important contacts such as electricity, gas, telephone and water suppliers; insurance company; council; etc. The location of electricity, gas and water cut off points Contact information for people who need to be informed or who can provide assistance An action plan for things to do if there is a high risk of flood (e.g. moving furniture and electrical equipment, rolling up rugs and carpets etc. An evacuation plan A template for a flood plan is available from the Environment Agency: Register for Flood warnings Make sure that you get as much warning as possible about potential floods by registering with the Environment agency to receive flood warnings by phone, text or . When weather conditions merit, listen to local radio stations or check the Environment Agency flood warning website: Get Insured Check that your insurance covers flooding and that it is upto-date. Have a Flood Kit Prepare an emergency kit containing some key items that you will need in case of flood such as: Torch Flood plan (see above) Radio First aid kit Ideal Group Ltd

5 Dealing with a flood Safety first Remember that safety is the most important consideration. If flood water is perceived to present a risk to the safety of you or others in the building your first priority is getting people to safety. Depending on the circumstances this could either be by evacuating the building or by moving to higher levels within the building. If you do evacuate the building then make sure you know the rules: Don t Walk or swim through flowing flood water. It only takes six inches of fast flowing water to knock people off their feet. Flood water tends to be dirty and it is impossible to see what hazards may be lurking under the surface. Drive through flood water. Again it can be very difficult to know the depth of water you are driving into. Just two feet of water can float a car. Return to the building until you are given the all clear Minimising damage If you have time you should take steps to minimise damage that the flood could cause. Turn off electric and gas supplies being careful not to let water come into contact with electrical supplies. Move valuable items to a higher level: electrical equipment furniture important documents pictures carpets or rugs If you have flood defence items such as airbrick covers, flood boards or sand bags, put them in place. Once your building is as safe and secure as you can make it and you are certain that everyone has left then seek safety and don t return to the building until it is safe to do so. Ideal Group Ltd

6 After the flood Once the flood waters have receded it s tempting to return to the building as soon as possible to assess the damage but make sure you wait for the all clear from the relevant authorities. When you are given the OK to enter your building make sure that you are prepared. Wear suitable clothing including rubber boots, waterproof trousers and coat and rubber gloves. It s a good idea to take some alcohol based hand wash which you should use regularly to avoid contamination from dirty water. Also have a torch available. Electricity Do not reinstate the electricity supply until you have had the system checked by a qualified electrician. If you did not have chance to turn off the electricity supply before you left then it should be turned off now, but only if you can do this from a dry place. Under no circumstances should you turn off the supply if you have to stand in water to do so. Get a qualified electrician to do it for you. Gas It is not uncommon for gas to be present after a flood if working appliances or gas supplies were not turned off. Ensure that the gas supply and any appliances are turned off now and do not use any naked flames until you are sure that there is no gas present. Mould If the building has been closed for several days you should assume that there will be mould present. People with asthma, allergies or respiratory problems can react very badly to the presence of mould. It can cause or exacerbate breathing problems, cause skin irritations or in extreme cases mould infections in the lungs. If mould is present then you should wear an N95 facemask. Insurance claim You will have already checked your insurance and know that you are covered of course! You should contact your insurers at the earliest opportunity. You need to know when the loss adjuster will visit and what they suggest you do immediately. This will be anything they believe will limit damage and hence loss. You should record all the damage taking photos or video and making thorough notes including all preventative steps that were taken. Ideal Group Ltd

7 Immediate action Get equipped There are many things you can do immediately to minimise damage and prevent further problems. To do this you ll need some basic cleaning equipment including shovels, brooms, mops, buckets, scrubbing brushes and disinfectant. You should also gather some basic tools such as hammers, nails, screws and screwdrivers and a sharp craft knife. Remove mud and water If possible remove standing water. Small quantities of mud can be removed with shovels. If there is a lot of mud against walls then it s possible that the structure of the building may be affected and expert advice should be sought. Remove saturated soft furnishings Carpets, rugs and other soft furnishings should be removed from the building and disposed of; they can harbour contaminants and mould. Carpets can be cut into small sections to aid removal. Keep small samples to as evidence of damage and take plenty of photographs. Protect possessions from further damage Many items can continue to deteriorate if left in moist conditions. You can help minimise this by taking some quick action: Move undamaged items to upper storeys if possible Furniture which can t easily be moved out should be raised up on blocks Put plastic sheets or even plastic bags under the legs of wooden furniture to avoid further exposure to wet floors If there are important papers (documents, books, photographs etc.) which have been water damaged wrap them in plastic bags and store in a freezer for restoration at a later date. Drying and cleaning Do NOT try to dry a building by using heat such as central heating or fan heaters. Heat and moisture can cause additional damage and encourage the growth of mould. Open windows and doors to begin the drying process. Cleaning and drying a building after a flood is a complex business. The water may have been contaminated with waste or chemicals. Mould growth can present an on-going hazard if not cleaned properly. We recommend you use a specialist cleaning contractor with experience of dealing with this kind of problem and the Ideal Group Ltd

8 latest specialist equipment to get the job done quickly so that you can get back to work. Choosing a specialist cleaning and restoration contractor There are many companies that offer flood and water damage restoration services so it s important that you know what to look for in a contractor. Your focus is on drying out your property as quickly and effectively as possible. The following information will help you become an informed buyer and allow you to make the right choice. Equipment There are many makes and types of drying equipment and some are more effective than others. Ask what equipment they use and what drying times they can offer. Quality Ensure that water damage repairs meet or exceed industry best practice as defined within the British Standard PAS 64 professional water damage mitigation and initial restoration of properties guidelines. Ask if the contractor has a quality management system certified to ISO 9001:2008 standards for the provision of property damage remediation and associated services. Validation Make sure you know how the contractor will ensure that your building is completely dry including In-depth monitoring of structural materials. Upon satisfactory completion of the programme you should be supplied with a certificate of drying. Ensure that all work is fully documented to validate the drying process. Eco-friendly sanitising Does the contractor use eco-friendly sanitising techniques such as advanced steam cleaning technology which avoids the need for chemicals and disinfectants? Hygiene testing Does the contractor use hygiene testing analysis techniques such as swab analysis equipment to verify that areas are truly clean? Do they provide a certificate of hygiene? Dispute resolution Will they provide experts to liaise with your insurer or loss adjuster to resolve any disputes? Ideal Group Ltd

9 Complete solution Can they provide a complete property reconstruction and redecoration service. Once the drying process is successfully completed can they carry out the building repair works without delay? Is the work guaranteed? Getting back to business Flooding can be devastating and incredibly stressful for those involved. Your top priorities must firstly be keeping people safe and secondly getting back to business as soon as possible. With the right planning and preparation personal risk and damage can be minimised. With the help of experienced and highly skilled professionals the clean-up can be completed more quickly than you might think. With luck you will never experience a flood but we hope that this guide proves helpful if you do. If you would like any further information on recovering from a flood or if we can help in any other way please don t hesitate to contact us. Ideal Group Ltd

10 About The Ideal Group The Ideal Group is a professional emergency services organisation that provides comprehensive incident response nationwide. We provide 24/7 rapid emergency response services including water extraction, clean up, and install drying equipment to deal with damage caused by flood, water, fire, oil, mould and sewage contamination. At The Ideal Group, we use only the most advanced equipment. This allows us to ensure that our clients are back up and running as quickly as possible following their incident. This allows for business continuity and will reduce any business interruption. Ideal House, Crismill Lane, Maidstone, Kent ME14 3LY Helpline: We are here to help if you have a problem, we have the solution. Ideal Group Ltd

11 Annex 1 Types of Flooding Coastal flooding As the name suggests, Coastal Flooding is seen in coastal areas, usually when extreme weather conditions combine with high tides to raise sea levels above normal, resulting in sea water being forced onto coastal land. Where coastal flooding is likely, effective flood defences need to be in place to safeguard life and property. The Environment Agency is responsible for constantly monitoring sea levels and releasing flood warnings when necessary. River flooding This type of flooding, where a river bursts its banks and floods the areas around it, is generally caused by prolonged, extensive rain and is sometimes compounded by melting snow. It can also be caused by the blockage of rivers by rubbish or fallen trees, for example. Flash flooding Usually caused by very heavy rain, a flash flood is a fast-moving and unexpected flood. Flash floods can also result from the failing of flood defences or overwhelmed drainage systems. Flash floods can be extremely destructive because by their nature they allow very little time for defences to be put in place. Flash floods tend to be short lived with water returning to more normal levels within a few days Groundwater flooding Groundwater flooding occurs when water levels underground rise above normal levels bringing water to the surface. It is again usually caused by prolonged periods of rainfall. Groundwater flooding can last for weeks and months. It is estimated that groundwater flooding affects several hundred thousand properties in the UK. Reservoir flooding Reservoirs are often built on high ground with the lower level land protected by dams. The dams are very secure and it is considered very unlikely, but not impossible, that the dams would fail and the lower level land exposed to flooding. Thankfully there has been no loss of life in the UK owing to reservoir flooding. Nevertheless it is sensible to ensure that the eventuality is considered and precautions taken. Sewer flooding Sewer flooding may result from a system failure or when sewer systems are overwhelmed by heavy rainfall or river or highway flooding. Sewage water flowing into a building is classified as internal flooding. When it floods a garden or other open space such as roads or public grounds it is considered as external flooding. If sewage flooding on your property is caused by a fault in your private drain, you are responsible for sorting out the problem. If the flooding is due to a fault in the public sewage system your local sewage provider is responsible for fixing it. Your local council will normally be responsible for drains and sewers around council homes while the Environment Agency would sort out any problem arising from river and coastal floods. Unitary authorities and county councils are responsible for highway drainage. Broken water mains flooding Water mains flooding is caused by burst water mains underground which can result in flooding to the basements of properties. Broken water mains can also result in water rising to the surface and forming surface floods. Internal plumbing flooding This covers all floods inside buildings caused by failure of or damage to the water supply pipes within the building, water tanks and other water carriage systems. These are very common and although the damage may be very localised it can still be very destructive. Ideal House, Crismill Lane, Maidstone, Kent ME14 3LY Helpline:

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