After extreme rains, which occur more frequently , there is a risk that entire residential areas are flooded and houses are devastated. “The novelty is that high rainfall or flash floods can even occur on flat land without a river in the vicinity, which can lead to great damage in a short time,” explains geo-risk researcher Peter Höppe Munich Re. “I think that has yet to penetrate the consciousness of many people that this is really a threat that anyone can meet.” What can and should every homeowner do to flood his home?
Check for vulnerabilities
Above all, the house must be examined for vulnerabilities. That begins with the review of the situation. If a house is located on a slope or at the foot of a depression, it is more likely that large volumes of water will gather at the house during a storm and then run into the house via cellar windows and doors.
The building fabric or the roof can represent further weak points. If you are unsure, it’s best to hire an expert. An initial assessment of the safety of your own home supplies Questionnaire of the HochwasserKompetenzCentrum eV The association has launched the “Hochwasser-Pass” initiative and also provides concrete information on its website Tips for constructional prevention of flood damage.
Most at risk: the cellar
The biggest weakness of a house is basically the basement. The building part is not only susceptible to flooding, because groundwater can also rise and be pushed up when there are large amounts of rainfall. Just like wastewater, which then escapes through unsecured pipes in the basement. A flood in the basement can cause great damage. Apart from household goods, furniture, personal documents or stored there colors or the like, the heating is the biggest source of danger. Especially old oil heaters threaten to burst under the pressure of water. Then there is next to the water and an oil spill in-house.
In order to protect his house against flooding, it should, so a danger exists, be retrofitted structurally. This includes, for example, to seal the basement and to buy protective elements for the windows and possibly mobile flood protection walls made of stainless steel beams. Anyone who builds new buildings should include possible flooding in the planning at this time. Among other things helps the Flood Protection Primer of the Federal Government .
When the flood comes
Flood warnings should not be taken lightly. Getting something out of the cellar again can be life-threatening, for example when a flash flood threatens or when the water is electrified by damaged electrics. The HochwasserKompetenzCentrum has put together tips for the correct behavior in the event of a flood hazard. This includes:
- Find out about the status of flood warnings and weather reports via radio, television or the internet.
- Sufficient water, food and batteries shopping.
- Help needy relatives, children and pets to safety.
- Do not enter the cellar, underground car park or basement any more, if the areas are already full.
- Place computers and other technical equipment and personal documents and photos on shelves or in the attic.
- Re-park the car if possible.
- Do not drive in flooded areas and operate “flood tourism”. This not only endangers one’s own safety, but also hinders the work of emergency services.
The federal states offer on the Internet on the website www.hochwasserzentralen.de an interactive map on which citizens can find out about the specific dangers and risks of flooding in their region.
Why hardly anyone is safe from flooding
There are water level websites for high seas on coasts and rivers. Unlike flooding caused by, for example, storm surges on coasts and rivers, it is difficult to predict flash floods that also occur after heavy rain falls away from the water. “It’s about to make a similar system now also for heavy precipitation,” explains geo-risk researcher Höppe. “But the differentiation is not that big, because it can hit any place.” In the face of such sudden and unexpected flooding, it is only helpful to implement as many of these tips as possible, and perhaps over one to consider additional elementary damage insurance.