Storm Ciarán will cross the southern half of the UK during this evening (1st November) and Thursday 2nd November. Amber and yellow National Severe Weather Warnings are in place.
Wind and rain warnings associated with Storm Ciarán are in force from tonight through until Friday, with further updates possible. These include Amber warnings for wind for parts of southwest England on Thursday morning and the far south and southeast of England Thursday daytime and early evening.
Very strong winds are expected along southern coastal areas of England in particular, where gusts of 70 to 80mph are possible, perhaps exceeding 85 mph in a few exposed locations. Further inland, gusts could reach up to 50 or 60mph.
As well as strong winds, there will be heavy rain across many parts of the UK. Much of southern and western England, Wales, northeast England and eastern Scotland look to see the wettest conditions between Wednesday evening and Friday morning. 20-30 mm of rain is likely to fall quite widely, with 40-60 mm possible over higher ground. Some parts of Wales and southwest England may see 80 mm of rain. This rain will fall on already saturated ground, bringing the risk of flooding.
We know that storms can be unpredictable and potentially devastating, however, church owners can take proactive steps to minimise damage and ensure the safety of their premises and team. To help you prepare for the storm and flooding, the WRS Church Insurance team is advising the following steps and precautions so you can safeguard your Church.
Preparing for a Storm
Stay Informed: Sign up for severe weather warnings on metoffice.gov.uk or stay updated with local weather reports via TV or radio stations.
Regular Maintenance: Ensure that your church or property is well-maintained throughout the year. Pay close attention to vulnerable areas, such as steeples, pinnacles, and the roof.
Tree Management: Trim back any bushes or trees around the church that might pose a threat to windows during high winds.
Secure Doors and Windows: Close and securely fasten doors and windows, particularly those on the windward side of the building, and especially large doors.
Securing Loose Objects: In the churchyard and grounds, secure loose objects such as ladders, benches, or any items that could become projectiles during a storm.
During a Storm
Safety First: Do not attempt to visit the church to repair any damage while the storm is in progress.
Sheltered Access: If you must enter or exit the church during a storm, use doors on the sheltered side and remember to close them securely behind you.
After the Storm
Beware of Hazards: Exercise caution around electrical and telephone cables that have been blown down or are still hanging.
Watch for Weak Structures: Avoid walking too close to walls, buildings, and trees, as they may have been weakened during the storm.
Professional Help:Contact reputable contractors to secure and remove fallen trees and damaged walls.
Preparing For Flood
If you know that you are in a flood-risk area, there are several ways you can prepare for flooding.
Work With Your Community
Visit the National Flood Forum website for useful information including a directory of flood-related products. They work with flood action groups to support communities and households who are at risk of flooding.
Store Essential Flood Equipment
It’s good to keep essentials handy at all times. Keep buckets, sandbags, spades, wellies, bottled water, gloves and other protective clothing somewhere accessible. These will all be useful if flood waters do start to rise close to your property.
Have A Contingency Plan
A contingency plan should outline what you need to do in the event of a major incident such as a flood. Keep emergency telephone numbers and your insurance documents to hand to let essential people know immediately.
Flood-Proofing Your Property
There are several ways you can protect your property against flooding:
- Flood barriers are boards that can be installed across doorways and windows ahead of the arrival of flood water. These usually slide into a frame pre-attached to the building structure to provide a watertight seal.
- Sandbags Used in conjunction with plastic sheeting to create a flood barrier.
- Airbrick covers One of the first points of entry of floodwater into a property is via airbrick vents. A plastic cover can be clipped to framework surrounding airbricks to prevent the entry of water1
- Non-return valves to drainage systems to prevent backflow of foul water into the property
- Drainage gullies Installed around your property designed to capture surface water and divert it directly to drains
- Landscaping This can be used to divert surface water away from a building. Care should be taken to ensure water is not diverted onto neighbouring property where it could cause damage
What To Do During a Flood
Safety comes first, think about evacuation before it is too late to move.
If flood water is about to enter your property turn off the gas, electricity and water but never touch sources of electricity when there is standing flood water.
Move valuable possessions, sentimental and irreplaceable items to safety, if you can move them to upper floors.
Take as much furniture as you can to the upper floors, if you can’t move them lift them onto blocks or bricks to minimise the damage.
Think about moving cars to higher ground if you know there is a threat of flooding.
Remember, if you have a basement that will be the first area to flood. Flash flooding, especially from a build-up of surface water is a real threat to properties with basement rooms. The water can pour in off the pavement quickly, inundating the room.
If your church sustains damage to its property or contents, don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance. The quicker you report a possible claim, the smoother the process will be. Contact our Senior Claims Executive, Emma Jeffery on 01206 760780 or you can email Emma@wrsinsurance.co.uk.
By following these storm safety precautions, your church can be better prepared to withstand the unpredictable forces of nature and protect both its structure and its community.
We’ve been helping churches of all sizes find the best church buildings insurance for their needs for over 40 years. Whether your buildings are old or modern, our experienced church insurance team will give you the peace of mind you need. We also specialise in charity insurance.
WRS is part of the Benefact Group, a charity-owned, international family of financial services companies that gives all available profits to charity and good causes.