The primary natural sources of flooding in Ireland are rivers (fluvial flooding), the sea (coastal and tidal flooding), intense rainfall (pluvial flooding), and groundwater. If a flood threatens your area there are a number of steps you can take to minimise damage to your property but remember safety should always be your first concern. If you live in a flood risk area you should always have preparations in place in case a flood should happen. Preparing a plan for what you should do in the event of a flood is well worth the time it may take. It could save you a lot of money, inconvenience and stress and could even save your life.
Before the threat of a flood arises (advance planning)
Preparation for flooding should begin before the threat of a flood event occurs. You should assess whether you live in a flood prone area. Speak to neighbours, your local authority, or consult the flood hazard maps for your area. If you find that you are in a flood prone area, there are a number of steps that you can take to make your property more resilient to flooding. For example:
- Assess if your property is at risk from flooding (e.g. where could a flood enter your house, are bedrooms on ground floors or in basements, etc.)
- Prepare a family flood plan for your household.
- Check with your home insurance company to see if you are covered for flood damage.
- Find out if there is a Flood Emergency Plan for your area.
- Consider if measures such as retrofitting to provide flood barriers, sealing basements, and purchasing floodgates are required.
Be prepared - Inside your house
- Move valuables and other items to safety. Place them above the flood level or upstairs
- Put sandbags at any openings where the water could gain access
- Turn off gas and electricity
- Be prepared to evacuate your home or business. Protect yourself, your family and others that need your help
- Have warm clothing and wellingtons ready
- Have medication to hand (if needed)
- Check water/food stocks
- Co-operate with emergency services and local authorities. For your safety you may be evacuated to an emergency centre
Be prepared - Outside your house
- Move your car to high ground if possible
- Remember that floodwater could get into your garage so move any chemicals or fuel to ensure that they do not spill into the floodwater and cause an additional hazard
- Weigh down any manhole covers with sandbags or heavy objects. These could open during a flood and cause a hazard
- Close off the flow valves on propane tanks, oil drums, or other fuel containers that supply your home through pipes and fittings
- Unplug any exterior electrical connections such as outdoor lighting, pond pumps and filters
General Safety advice
- Don’t try to walk or drive through floodwater
- If possible avoid contact with floodwater as it may be contaminated or polluted
- Take care if you have to walk through shallow water – manhole covers may have come off and there may be other underwater hazards that you cannot see
- Never try to swim through fast-flowing water – you may get swept away or struck by an object in the water
You will find detailed information and advice for dealing with all aspects of flooding from the website www.flooding.ie. Further advice may also be obtained from the Office of Public Works by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org