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29th June 2012

Consumer Council urges householders to put safety first in post-flood advice

The Consumer Council has provided post-flood advice to those affected by the recent weather and its aftermath and urged householders to put safety first.

CEO Antoinette McKeown has pointed out that there are several practical issues that consumers should consider if their home has been damaged by flooding.

"When returning to a home after a flood, safety should be the primary concern. Consideration needs to be given structural damage, broken glass, raised manhole covers, electrical and gas outlets."

"Before beginning the clear up those who have household insurance should contact their company and keep a record of the damage, taking photographs, marking the level of floodwater and making a list of damaged items. Those living in rented accommodation should contact their landlord and their contents insurers."

"Cleaning up after a flood can be a distressing time, but people should be aware of the need put safety first. Flood water can contain sewage, chemicals, waste or sharp objects. It is advisable to wear waterproof clothing, rubber gloves and a face mask."

"It may be necessary to hire a pump to remove water and these can be hired or bought from DIY stores. The ground level outside should be lower than inside to reduce the risk of structural damage to your home."

"Cleaning and disinfecting your home can be done with normal household products but items such as food, clothes, toys, medicines, cosmetics which may have been in contact with flood water should not be used. The Consumer Council advises that householders to put these items into heavy duty resealable bags and keep them until their insurance company agrees that they can be thrown out."

"Those affected by flooding may be able to apply for a £1,000 emergency grant through their local Council as it may take some time to process insurance claims."

"While the Consumer Council is focused now on consumers and how they are affected in the immediate aftermath we are also conscious that the response to the flooding was inadequate. We have written to Ministers to renew our call for a single agency approach to flooding and an enhanced Flood Incident Line. In the short term it is vital that those consumers, particularly those who are vulnerable get every available support as speedily as possible."

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