Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:28 pm
Extreme precipitation is becoming more and more frequent. But how can you protect your belongings from the heavy precipitation? And what should be done in an emergency?
It can affect anyone – and it’s not just about getting wet yourself. Every year, heavy rainfall causes millions of euros worth of damage to buildings. However, very few homeowners are aware of the danger posed to their property by heavy rainfall. Here you can find out how to protect yourself and react in an emergency.
What is special about heavy rain?
The European Weather Service (DWD) speaks of heavy rain from a precipitation amount of 15 to 25 liters per square meter in one hour. The DWD then issues a weather warning – for example, via the DWD’s WarnWetter app or in current weather reports on the radio.
When such large amounts of water fall in a very short time, the soil and sewage system are often no longer able to absorb it. The result: flooding of streets and basements – in the worst case, the water penetrates right down to the first floor of houses. Anyone can be affected, even if the house is located away from bodies of water. Experts advise protecting the house against the dangers of heavy rain in advance.
Avoiding damage from heavy rain and thunderstorms
Homeowners can make preparations for emergencies: If masses of water flood the sewage system, you can secure your own house with sandbags, waterproof formwork boards and plywood panels.
Since heavy rain often occurs suddenly, appropriate supplies are useful. Experts also recommend having the backwater protection of the building’s sewage pipes checked regularly by a specialist. If these backups are not tight or do not function properly, sewage can enter the building.
Heavy rain: the right thing to do
If possible, residents should move all movable and especially valuable items such as furniture or televisions out of the rooms at risk. It is also important to disconnect all electronic devices, including the heating system, from the power supply. Otherwise, a short circuit may occur in the water. When entering and clearing out the room later, this can even be life-threatening!
If you want to play it safe, flip the fuse switch for the entire house. In addition, residents should remember to put toxic materials such as cleaning agents or plant poisons in safe rooms.
Hazardous materials such as heating oil tanks are heavy, but large masses of water can easily float them. Tanks should therefore be secured with strong straps or steel straps. To prevent a prolonged power outage, the insurance expert advises providing off-grid lighting.
Tip: Store important documents such as identification papers or insurance policies safely on higher floors!
Heavy rain and thunderstorms: What to do in case of damage?
Whether it’s a flooded cellar or a flooded living room, those affected should inform their insurance company about the damage as soon as possible. They can get an initial overview by inspecting the house and the immediate surroundings:
- Which rooms are flooded?
- Are windows and doors damaged?
- Have flying branches and strong winds loosened the rain gutters?
- Does the roof have a leak?
- Are all the lines of the lightning protection system still tight?
Anyone who identifies damage during the walk-through should record it in as much detail as possible with the help of photos or videos for later damage reporting. Homeowners should only repair the damage immediately if it poses an immediate danger.