Every year, floods cause more damage than any other natural hazard in Australia. Victoria’s metropolitan, regional and rural areas are all prone to flooding. People living in low-lying areas, close to creeks or rivers, or near major stormwater are at risk of being affected by floods.
If your home has been flooded, take the following safety precautions:
- Do not attempt to re-enter the house or undertake repairs until floodwaters have receded to a safe level and authorities permit access to the area. The relevant authorities will need to assess the building’s structural integrity, electricity (even if power has been turned off by the authorities, solar power systems may still be active in individual homes), gas safety, water and sewerage services.
- Do not enter the house if flood waters have reached the ceiling level of your house or the ceiling has become damp due to absorption of water from plaster walls. There is a risk the ceiling may collapse.
- Some building materials in older properties may contain asbestos – if unsure, expert advice should be obtained before cleaning up building materials.
- When carrying out flood repairs to a building, make sure the building has completely dried out and that the ground surrounding the building is also completely dry. Repairs made before the house has dried may fail.
If rectification of your home involves any building works, make sure that that you find out the relevant regulatory requirements, such as whether you need any building or planning permits. Talk to your local council if in doubt. Also make sure that any plumbers or builders you hire to do work have the necessary registrations or licenses. For more information, see Building and renovating essentials.
For insurance purposes, it is a good idea to take photographs before and during the clean-up process.
For more information
Further resources with helpful information for people affected by flooding include: