Extreme precipitation is becoming more common. But how can you protect your belongings from heavy rainfall? And what should be done in an emergency?
It can hit anyone – and it’s not just about getting wet yourself. Heavy rainfall causes millions of euros in damage to buildings every year. However, very few homeowners are aware of the dangers that heavy rain can pose for their belongings. Here you can find out how to protect yourself and how to react in an emergency.
What is special about heavy rain?
The weather service speaks of heavy rain from a rainfall of 15 to 25 liters per square meter in one hour. The weather service then issues a weather warning – for example via the WarnWetter app or in current weather reports on the radio or television.
When such large amounts of water fall in such a short period of time, the soil and sewer systems can often no longer absorb them. The result: streets and cellars are flooded – in the worst case, the water can penetrate the ground floor of the houses. Anyone can be affected, even if the house is away from water. Experts advise securing the house against the dangers of heavy rain in advance.
Avoid damage from heavy rain and thunderstorms
Homeowners can prepare for emergencies: if masses of water flood the sewer system, you can secure your own house with sandbags, waterproof shuttering boards and plywood panels.
Since heavy rain often occurs suddenly, it makes sense to have appropriate supplies. Experts also recommend that the backflow protection of the building’s sewer pipes be checked regularly by a specialist. If these safeguards are not tight or do not work properly, wastewater can enter the building.
Heavy rain: how to behave properly
If possible, residents should move all movable and, above all, valuable objects such as furniture or televisions out of the endangered rooms. It is also important to disconnect all electronic devices, including the heating, from the power supply. There is also a risk of lightning and thunderstorms in heavy rain. Otherwise there could be a short circuit in the water. When entering and clearing the room later, this can even be life-threatening!
If you want to be on the safe side, you flip the circuit breaker for the whole house. In addition, residents should remember to bring toxic substances such as cleaning agents or plant poisons into safe rooms.
Dangerous goods such as heating oil tanks are heavy, but large amounts of water can easily make them swim. The tanks should therefore be secured with strong straps or steel straps. In order to prevent a longer power outage, the insurance expert advises providing off-grid lighting.
Tip: keep important documents such as identification papers, important photos or insurance policies safely on higher floors!
Heavy rain and thunderstorms: what to do in the event of damage?
Regardless of whether it is a full basement or a flooded living room: Those affected should inform their insurance company about the damage as soon as possible. You can get an initial overview by examining the house and the surrounding area:
- Which rooms are flooded?
- Are the windows and doors damaged?
- Have flying branches and strong wind loosened the gutter?
- Is there a leak in the roof?
- Are all lines of the lightning protection system still tight?
Anyone who detects damage during the tour should record it in as much detail as possible with the help of photos or videos for later reporting. Homeowners should only remedy the damage caused immediately if it represents an immediate danger.