Reducing flood damage

10 September 2019

Risk management advice on reducing the impact of flooding on Baptist churches.

Flooding

Churches in flood risk areas

Before adding flood defences at your church it is worth finding out what the flood risk looks like in your area. Understanding the long term level of flood risk at your church can be achieved by visiting one of the dedicated websites below and entering your church’s postcode. 

Please be aware - in the case of pluvial flooding, it can be harder to predict where floods will hit. Even churches with no prior history of flooding may be at risk. 

Assessing flood risks at your church

Assessing the risk of flood at your Baptist church can be done by carrying out a flood risk assessment. It can help you identify weak areas so you can put measures in place to reduce the damage flooding can cause.

What to do if your church is at risk

To limit the damage flood water can cause to your church, consider investing in flood defences and damage reduction devices. Some suggestions include:

  • Fit horizontal plasterboard or lime-based plaster instead of gypsum. 
  • Introduce drainage systems within cavity walls. 
  • Use tile flooring instead of carpets. 
  • Use built-in units manufactured using stainless steel, solid wood or similar rather than chipboard. 
  • Locate appliances on plinths raised above the floor. 
  • Increase the height of damp proof coursing to walls. 
  • Raise electrical sockets and fuse boxes at least 1.5metres above floor level and run cabling to these from the ceiling rather than floor level. 
  • Raise the height of door thresholds 
  • Install sump pumps in lower ground areas such as basements. Sump pumps should be triggered using a float switch.
  • Consider fitting non-return valves to drains and water inlet and outlet pipes to stop water and sewage backing up into the church.
  • Use flood boards but only if the flood waters are not too high. In really bad cases, flood boards can create pressure which can cause the building to collapse.
  • Have a contingency plan outlining what you need to do in the event of a major incident. Keep emergency telephone numbers and church insurance documents with the plan so you can update relevant people without delay. 

In the event of an imminent flood

The key piece of flood advice is ‘safety comes first’. Think about evacuation before it is too late to move. 

Move your valuable possessions, sentimental and irreplaceable items to safety. Take as much furniture as you can to the upper floors of your home.
 
If flood water is about to enter the church, turn off the gas, electricity and water but never touch sources of electricity when there is standing flood water. 
 
Flood notifications - as a church, you can also register for the Targeted Flood Warning Service. The service usually costs £4,700 a year but is free for not-for-profit organisations.

Flood restoration

Call us as soon as possible after the flood to report your claim. We have access to a wide range of specialists to assist with the drying out, cleaning up and restoring your church buildings following a flood.

Take photographs of any damage to the building and your belongings. Don’t throw anything away until you have spoken to the claims team and they have confirmed it is ok to do so. 
 
Always have a qualified electrician check the electrics before you switch it back on. If you have turned off your gas supply make sure a GasSafe registered tradesperson checks that too before it is turned back on. 
 
Baptist Insurance church insurance includes flood cover as standard. If you are not sure how well your church insurance covers effects of flooding then it is well worth contacting your insurer for advice.
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