UK & World News
Floods: How To Defend Your Home From Deluges
People in flood-hit areas must take responsibility for defending their own homes and not rely on the Government, an expert has warned.
Thousands of residents in vulnerable areas have been battling to save their properties from damage after record rainfall left them inundated with water.
But Neil McDermid, who runs flood-defence specialists Total Flooding Solutions, said those living in regions at a high risk of flooding should take matters into their own hands.
"We know these areas well and we know it's an accident waiting to happen," he told Sky News.
"Everyone is kicking the police and the Environment Agency, but it's the elements. If a big wind comes and blows your roof away, you don't go blaming the Government for that, and this is no different.
"The Environment Agency can build high walls around all these areas, but the water has to go somewhere.
"Having your house flooded is generally much worse than having your house burgled, so its up to people, where possible, to defend their properties."
Mr McDermid urged anyone concerned that they may be vulnerable flooding to have a proper flood-risk assessment carried out.
"There are some common sense things you can do, like getting everything off the floor and high up and rolling up carpets where possible," he said.
"The main thing I would say, is that sandbags have a success rate of about 1%. They may make people feel like they are actually doing something, but they are very limited in their effectiveness.
"A far better method is to simply buy pieces of plywood to surround your home and put silicone around them. That will do a much better job of keeping the water out initially."
He said a key factor in his advice was "damage limitation".
"Once you have protected your home as best you can, a pump can be invaluable if and when the water does get in," he said.
"We use pumps that will pump out 500 litres a minute, but people can buy smaller ones which can do up to 200 litres a minute.
"Non-return valves can also be crucial, because when your house is contaminated by sewage, you lose everything.
"You can have one installed for around £2,000, which is money well spent if it prevents contamination."
He said his firm was responsible for defending hundreds of electricity sub-stations around the country from flooding and that he did not expect flood-related problems to improve in the near future.
"We read the big climate change report that came out in 2009 so we knew this was coming," he said.
"It may seem like a freak event, but unfortunately this kind of flooding is here to stay."
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