Floods have become a regular feature of life in certain areas of the UK. Knowing how to deal with them and having plans in place in order to ensure that you are fully prepared to deal with a flood should you happen to live in an area affected by them is essential. It is not possible to completely flood-proof a house. If there is enough water around, it will find its way inside. However, here are some practical steps you can take. Fit non-return valves on drains and pipes. This is a very simple measure which helps to prevent sewage returning to the house along the pipes from the toilet and sinks. This can help to significantly limit the damage to your property after a flood has passed and is relatively cheap to put in place. Varnish wooden skirting boards. This does not water-proof the wood entirely, and it is less effective than fitting plastic skirting boards, but it is much cheaper and has the added advantage of making your home look good. Get high shelves. A fairly obvious tip, this one, but ensuring that your important documents are kept well out of the potential reach of any floodwater is essential. Every year people lose their insurance documents to the floods, and this seriously hinders the progress of their claim. Plan ahead and make certain this does not happen to you. When you first realise that your home is in an area affected by a flood warning, it can be very easy to give in to the urge to panic. This causes far more problems than taking a few minutes to think through your options, and having a pre-arranged flood plan helps you to avoid panic too. Put together a flood kit — a waterproof container which contains your home insurance documents, a torch, warm clothing, a first-aid kit and a supply of any prescription medicines you take, bottled water and non-perishable food. When you realise that your home is in imminent danger of flooding, turn off your gas and electricity. Move your family, pets, and flood kit to a safe position — usually the top floor or attic. Place sandbags (use pillowcases or plastic bags filled with earth in place of sandbags if you don't have any) around the entrances of your house. If you have time after sorting all of that out, move any expensive equipment out of the reach of the flood water, and consider moving your car to higher ground. If a flood strikes, it is worth considering whether or not you have any vulnerable neighbours who might need some extra help to deal with this emergency. Community spirit is never more important than when nature hits the community as hard as it can. Floods are one of the most devastating natural events to hit anywhere in the UK. Having a plan in place to deal with flooding can help to make it less devastating.