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HomeGerman HousingFlood preparations before, during and after a flood. Are you prepared?

Flood preparations before, during and after a flood. Are you prepared?

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While severe rain was predicted, infrastructure was already overburdened, and many locals were unaware of the consequences. Find out why you should start your flood preparations including what to do before, during and after a flood.

Heavy storms and continuous rain caused floods and flooding in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate – and cost the lives of many people. What can you do to be at least partially armed against similar natural disasters? How do you protect your fellow human beings, yourself and your belongings? And what should be done when the water masses finally withdraw? An overview of effective flood preparations befor, durung and after the floods.

Flood preparations: Before predicted heavy rains

Not only those who live in flood-prone areas should be prepared for unwanted masses of water in their own four walls. Sometimes heavy rain is enough to flood the basement and apartment.

Find out about the current weather situation

If the weather is inconsistent, you should always keep yourself up to date. Current weather reports and flood warnings are updated daily via the German Weather Service, the NINA warning app of the Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief, radio or the Internet.

Information on current flood levels can be found at the flood control centers of the federal states. The municipalities also provide information on flood risk areas; some offer maps of the risk of heavy rain on their websites.

In order to be well prepared, you should think about how sick and needy people can be helped in an emergency, how pets can be evacuated, how communication with neighbors works even without a phone and smartphone – and who takes on which role in the household.


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Precaution: what to do if a flood is imminent?

If a flood is announced, one should not wait and see how bad it really will be, but act. Because if things get really bad, you can be cut off from the outside world for a while.

  • Get sandbags, shuttering boards, waterproof plywood and silicone
  • Secure hazardous substances or chemicals so that they cannot be reached by the water
  • Bring valuable furniture and technical equipment to flood-proof rooms
  • Secure the heating oil tank against buoyancy caused by water
  • Stock up on supplies: sufficient food and drinking water, a battery-operated radio, flashlight, camping stove, possibly a camping toilet
  • Have important documents and emergency baggage ready
  • Insect repellants, as mosquitoes and other pests can spread around the house after the floods have receded

The water rises – now it’s time to act!

As soon as it is clear that the flood will affect you, one thing above all should be done: stay calm and act prudently. Secure your house, car and vehicle step by step – and help those who cannot cope on their own.

Protect the house from flooding

  • Clear basements into which groundwater can penetrate or which can fill up
  • Check backflow flaps in the basement
  • Seal windows, doors and drain openings
  • Switch off electrical devices and heating in rooms threatened by water – risk of electric shock! If in doubt, switch off the power completely.
  • IMPORTANT! Do not stay in the basement during the flood, it is life-threatening!

Get the car to safety

  • Drive your car out of endangered garages or parking lots in good time
  • ATTENTION! Underground car parks can become deadly traps when there is a risk of flooding!
  • Never drive through flooded streets – you not only endanger yourself, water in the engine compartment can also damage your car.
  • Have the vehicle towed if it is in the water up to its wheels

Saving lives and helping others

  • Help others, but do not put yourself in danger!
  • If necessary, remove children from the floodplain before the danger arises
  • Do not operate boats in flooded areas if it can be avoided.
  • Do not enter any bank areas, there is a risk of undermining or breaking off. For this reason, flooded or partially flooded roads may not be used.
  • Follow the instructions and barriers of the emergency services

Cleaning up and insurance: what happens after the flood?

As soon as the water gives way, it goes to the inventory and the big cleanup. But: The pumping out work in the house should only be started when the groundwater level has sunk sufficiently, otherwise the floor pan of the house will be damaged. Look for information from the community.

  • Take an inventory and photograph the damage for the insurance company.
  • Remove water residue and sludge from the house
  • Dry the rooms as quickly as possible to avoid structural damage or mold. Heating devices speed up the process.
  • The electrics, heating oil tanks and, in special cases, the structural engineering should be checked by specialists.
  • If pollutants such as paints, varnishes, pesticides, petrol, oil etc. have been released, inform the fire brigade.
  • Dirty, broken furniture and spoiled food do not belong in the household rubbish;
  • Do not eat fruit, vegetables and salads from flooded areas!
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Michelle Halterman
USA, China, South Africa and now Munich - Michelle has come a long way in the world. She is an outdoor person and loves to be in nature with friends and on her mountain bike. Or she meets up with friends for pasta, vino, cappaccino & Co.
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