Flood advice

22 November 2022

Flooding can cause severe disruption, and for Methodist churches, a flood may impair your ability to provide services and support to the community.

Flooded coastline

Knowing the level of risk

You might expect flooding to occur near rivers but this is not always the case. Surface water run-off is a type of flooding that occurs in areas where the water flows across the surface of the ground because it is not absorbed or drained quickly enough. More and more this means that areas with no previous history of flooding are being affected.

You can check the flood risk for your Methodist church at the Environment Agency (EA - England and Wales) and Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). Specialist advice is available from the National Flood Forum.

Methodist churches in flood risk areas

If your church has flooded in the past or you know it could be at risk in the future, there are some steps you can take to make buildings more resilient. Some examples include:

  • Raise electrical sockets, fuse boxes, controls and wiring to above likely flood levels. If rewiring, bring cables down the wall to meet the raised socket so cabling isn’t affected by flood water.
  • Explore any flood prevention schemes available to you – ask your local authority for more information.
  • Church halls may benefit from flood resistant flooring such as concrete with tiles instead of carpet.
  • Brick buildings can be fitted with covers to prevent water entering the property through air bricks, these can then be removed when flood waters have receded.
  • Where possible, use plaster, which is more water resistant, on walls or on part of the wall
  • If you can, use flood proof materials such as plastic skirting, stainless steel, solid wood or plastic fixtures/fittings or even removable fixtures/fittings at vulnerable levels.

How to react in a flood

If the church is at risk, there are steps you can take: 

  • Basic protection can be provided by sandbags
  • Put up flood-barriers around the buildings themselves and the perimeter where water can get in
  • Relocate more vulnerable items to higher levels and try to raise as much as possible above likely flood levels
  • Fit non-return valves to drainage systems to prevent water backing up into the property
  • Use pump and sump systems to mitigate damage
  • In an emergency your safety is key, the government runs a service called Floodline to help keep people safe during flooding.

If you need to make a flood claim

  • Contact the Methodist Insurance claims team on 0345 6061 331. We work with specialists who can provide advice and support on managing your church following a flood
  • It’s a good idea to take photographs of areas or items affected by flood water but only if it is safe to do so
  • Floodwater can be contaminated. Approach with caution and use anti-bacterial hand gel if you have to touch the water
  • Open the doors to reduce humidity but ensure the building is secure when closed
  • Save any damaged items until we advise it is ok to dispose of them
  • If your church is a listed building, make certain any emergency works comply with listed building legislation.

Our printable flood checklist gives detail of how to prepare for a flood and protect your Methodist church.

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