Most people avoid thinking about floods, bushfires and other disasters until it’s happening, by this time it is often too late to flood proof your home. Think ahead about how you can secure your valuables. Often this involves thinking about items when you purchase them. Don’t avoid thinking about the possiblility of floods, remember if the threat is imminent everyone will be scrabbling to get moving vehicles, arrange storage elsewhere or buy waterproofing supplies. Find out what works with waterproofing. Water needs only a tiny entry point.
If your lounge furniture is in one piece you will not easily be able to move it if you are left on your own to try to save it. Buy modular furniture which comes apart for easy moving and can easily be moved to a higher location. Buy modular furniture which is easy to dismantle. Buy items which you can transport in or on your family vehicle.
Keep your possesions to a minimum, and create a priority list in case of emergency. Identify what you could plan to save during a flood and how you would do this. Large plastic storage tubs are heavy to lift and awkward to move and they will still float and overturn no matter how heavy they seem if the water gets too deep . Buy some of the small size plastic tubs which can for instance go up through a manhole and are not heavy to lift when full. Create a platform in the ceiling space to place items on and make sure this is fastened down so you do not get hurt trying to store items. Make sure there are no electrical hazards in the ceiling space. Keep a supply of waterproof tape. Label items and boxes with your name and contact details in waterproof pen. In case they float away there is some hope they will be returned. When packing plastic boxes remember that they will probably not float horizontally. Pack one up tape up with waterproof tape and test float. An inner plastic liner well taped is a good idea.
Turn your above ground pool liner upside down and use it to protect household equipment on higher ground if there is a suitable nearby location on your property, maybe even a flat roof. Test out if this is possible in advance and if it is safe to attempt this. Solid bases can be used to raise furniture up. These need to be heavy things which will not float, besser blocks, pieces of I-beam for instance. Any wood, even heavy blocks or heavy solid furniture will begin to float as the house is inundated. Boxes of precious items stored on heavy solid wooden tables are not safe, the tables will float. Solid metal legged furniture will not float. Hollow metal will float. Plastic will float. Chipboard furniture will simply disintegrate very quickly in contact with water. The legs and lower parts of furniture can be protected with plastic however in order to prevent it floating off and falling over you will need to weight it down with very heavy metal or concrete weights on all sides. You need a lot of weight to prevent flotation.
Use your council waste garbage bins for waterprood storage however remember unless they are tied to something very sturdy top and bottom they will float away no matter how heavily loaded. This may save some items if the flood does not exceed the height of the bins. Store hoses and other equipment by tying to solid fixures or store items on top of the rotary clothes line. Put ladders where they may be needed and tie them down.
Your kitchen is one of your most expensive investments. When planning try to make sure expensive benchtops such as granite have independent waterproof support. If the chipboard cupboards collapse you won’t lose the benchtops as well. They will not fall and break or fall and destroy your floor tiles.
Use movable rugs not wall to wall carpet. Arrange to store rugs rolled in the ceiling or from hooks or loops in the garage roofspace. Do not use large heavy rugs. Axminster carpets are incredibly light. They are expensive however they are easy to move but still lay wonderfully flat when in use. Anything which absorbs and wicks water up to items stored at a higher level needs to be avoided. Hanging ropes, hanging clothing, chipboard panels, rolled rugs or rolls of carpet etc will all absorb water and transport it upwards
Plan for your own safety. If the ceiling space may be your last ditch escape, make a section of roof removable from inside. Many people die in a roof space from lack of oxygen or because they cannot get out onto the roof. Make sure everyone, even children know where this is and how to get out. Make plans for saving your items of property so that you can arrange this quickly in an emergency and be able to leave before your life is in danger. Make a salvage priority list and do not waste time saving material goods at the risk of life and limb.
Put roof racks on your car in case you need to climb onto the roof of it. Keep flotation devices in the car for emergency use. Consider owning a vehicle with moving capacity. Hiring such a vehicle in an emergency may not be possible. Locate your pets if a crisis looms so they do not vanish and so you will not waste time searching for them. Organise cages or restraining straps for them in your vehicle, improvising if necessary. Make flood readiness a game with your children, experiment with the behaviour of dolls furniture and other play things in water. Let them help to flood-proof your home. Reward them for efforts and creativity it may save their lives and your grandchildren’s lives in years to come.
None of your preparations may prevent your home being destroyed but if only a couple centimetres or even a couple of metres comes through there is still a lot you can do to prevent total loss of your most valued possessions. It is no good thinking ” if only ” after the event. Play the flood game here and understand the statistics. http://swiki.cs.colorado.edu:3232/Reflection/25