In the event of a flood, the local authorities and emergency services will provide the principal response at a local level. ALWAYS cooperate with their instructions.
Individuals and communities also play an important role in reducing the impact of floods by being aware of flood risks and potential impacts and by being prepared to take action if and when a flood occurs.
The Office of Public Works (OPW) has a dedicated awareness web-site www.flooding.ie for homes, businesses and farms. This website pro- vides practical information and guidance on being prepared to take ac- tion if and when a flood occurs. The OPW has also prepared a handy booklet called "Plan, Prepare, Protect" that is available to view online or download.
Find out if you live in an area at risk of flooding by:
- Speaking to neighbours and your local authority
- Consulting the OPW flood maps, which show areas that may be at risk of flooding (See www.floodmaps.ie).
If you DO live in an area at risk of flooding, you can greatly lessen the impact of a flood by taking the time to prepare in advance:
- Make a flood plan for your family or business so that everyone knows what to do and where to go in case of a flood
- Make up a flood kit and ensure everyone knows where to find it
- Check if you have flood insurance and consider if there are any physical improvements to your property that you could make to reduce the likelihood of flood damage
A typical flood plan for your home should include:
- Emergency numbers – have a print-out and store electronically on your phone
- List of most valuable possessions – know where they are so you can move them quickly to safety
- Store valuable documents in a watertight container – passports, birth certificates, insurance policy, etc.
- Gas and electricity – know where the shut off points are
- Have a prearranged place that you can safely move your car to if you have time
- Have medication to hand (if needed)
A flood kit should include a torch, some warm and waterproof clothes, a battery or wind-up radio, a mobile phone, rubber gloves, rubber boots, a first aid kit, blankets and children’s essentials, if required.
Practice your flood plan. Ensure that everyone knows what has to be done and what is safe to do.
A Flood Event
You should check local news and weather forecasts and heed all weather warnings issued. Be prepared to put into action any plans you have made to deal with flooding in your area including:
Inside and Outside
- Turn off gas and electricity
- Move valuables and other items to safety above the flood level or upstairs if possible
- Disconnect washing machines and dishwashers
- Put sandbags (or other suitable flood resistant barriers) at any openings where the water could enter your house
- Move vehicles to high ground if possible
- Remember, floodwater could get into your garage – keep any chemicals or fuel in watertight containers and if possible move to above flood level to ensure that they do not spill into the flood wa- ter and cause an additional 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 light- ing, pond pumps and filters, if safe to do so
- Move livestock and pets to a safe location
- Note the location of any manholes or service chambers and keep clear of these during a flood, as their covers may be dislodged
Despite all precautions, it may still be necessary to evacuate your home or business.
ALWAYS cooperate with instructions from emergency services and local authorities.
After a Flood
- Always be careful when re-entering your property after a flood as there may be structural damage or contamination as a result of floodwater.
- The Health Service Executive provides health advice for flood events at www.hse.ie.
- Have any electric, gas or fuel-based service checked by a profes- sional before re-entry following a flood.
- Record any damage caused (photo and video) and check with your insurance company as to what may be covered by your policy.
- See www.flooding.ie for further advice.
Flooding - General Safety Advice
- If possible avoid contact with floodwater as it may be contaminated or polluted, for example with sewage
- Don’t try to walk, cycle or drive through floodwater
- If you have to leave your vehicle, be wary of strong currents and de-bris
- Take care if you have to walk through shallow water – manhole co- vers 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
- Keep away from sea and flood defences and fast moving water
- Owners of high axle vehicles such as trucks or tractors might be asked for help in getting through flooded areas
150mm (6 inches) of flowing water can sweep you off your feet and 600mm (2 feet) of water can float your car.