Storm threaten: How do I deal with heavy rain?

Storms and often heavy rain are part of summer.

Storm threaten: How do I deal with heavy rain?

Storms and often heavy rain are part of summer. This way you can better protect the building and yourself in the event of a weather warning.

At least since last year's severe storms, there has been fear: Heavy rain and the ensuing flood can hit every house. However, you can prepare your building to a certain extent - and do it quickly - and thus protect it better in the event of a storm warning.

Check backwater flaps

Heavy rain can be a problem anywhere, even on slopes and mountains. Because the street sewage system cannot absorb too much rain. As a result, the water presses into the house through the drains. A backwater flap, which is even mandatory in some places, closes the pipes from below. The Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK) advises that their functionality should be checked again in the event of a corresponding weather warning.

Clear away problematic materials as a priority

Above all, dangerous substances and chemicals such as petrol and oil, pesticides, but also paint should be removed from the endangered rooms, according to the BBK. These should not get into the water. If this happens, the fire brigade has to come to the rescue. Therefore, the fuel oil tank must also be secured against buoyancy. If necessary, it should be anchored to the wall or weighed down with ballast.

turn off power

In the rooms that are most likely to be flooded, electrical devices and the heating should be disconnected from the power supply. When the worst comes to the worst, flip the circuit breaker for the entire house. Because if water causes a short circuit, it is a deadly hazard later when cleaning up, according to the Electric Initiative.

Secure the house from the outside

Sandbags in front of doors, windows and shafts protect the house from minor flooding on the streets. Shuttering boards, waterproof plywood sheets and silicone for sealing also do good jobs. More effective are mobile protective walls, which can be placed in front of the entrances of a building without much lead time.

Have emergency baggage ready

There is no harm in preparing emergency luggage with the most important documents. In principle, it also makes sense to create a list of property so that it is easier to report damage to the insurance company later. Photos of the condition of the building and furnishings and, if still available, scans of the purchase receipts are also helpful. The files can be stored in a cloud service, for example. Those who prefer to keep copies should store them with relatives or acquaintances in other places.

Things that are also good to have around the house in case of an emergency: camping stove, cordless radio, flashlights with spare batteries and an empty water canister.

As long as the water in the house does not threaten the occupants, the motto is: keep your nerves and wait and see. Under no circumstances should you enter the basement or other water-filled rooms to quickly save a few loved ones. First it must be clear that the main fuse of the power supply is switched off. There is a danger to life in the vicinity of flooded electrical systems.

Even if the corresponding protective devices have come into contact with water, they are usually no longer effective - even if they otherwise protect against electric shock, explains the Electric Initiative.

Now you have to act immediately: damage must be reported to the insurance company immediately. They will then tell you whether you can contact a craftsman directly or whether the insurance company will first send an appraiser. Also, no rubbish should be thrown away until the insurance company agrees.

Those affected should also document the damage with photos or videos in as much detail as possible. The General Association of the German Insurance Industry (GDV) also advises collecting purchase receipts. These documents usually make it easier to settle claims.

Important: Insured persons must also keep the damage as low as possible. This means that waiting for a reaction from the insurance company should not result in any consequential damage, according to the GDV. Therefore, you should temporarily close broken windows, for example, so that no rainwater penetrates the house and ruins furniture. This is referred to as the obligation to mitigate damages.

If the policy also covers damage caused by natural hazards, building or household insurance will cover such damage. It includes the main building with the living quarters, but also garages and lots of things in the garden, such as pools, playground equipment and greenhouses. According to the GDV, if plants have to be replaced, it depends on the contract whether and to what extent the costs are covered.

You can start pumping out the water when the water level outside is lower than inside the house. To keep the remaining sludge from turning into a heavy, solid mass, it is best to shovel it away quickly or spray it away with clean water. Drying devices for the basement can be borrowed from the hardware store.

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