This subject heading may be a little misleading because there really is no such thing as a flood-proof home. Unless you live in an ark I guess...and we have thought about that possibility, believe it or not. The truth is you can't stop the volume of flood water that we have from going into our home. By flood-proofing I am talking about doing things to your home to make it more durable, practical things that we have adopted over the years to minimise damage, repairs and expense.
The dinghy is an essential part of our flood strategy. It is the only way we can evacuate as our house is surrounded by water. When we are staying upstairs it gives us something to do as well. It's actually quite beautiful rowing around our lagoon and rescuing stray items that decide to float away.
After every flood there is usually something we think of doing that will reduce our expense and get our facilities back up and running quickly. It is important to have access to water after a flood in order to clean, so moving our pump and hot water service upstairs to our verandah has meant that we have water as soon as we have power. When we stay upstairs we use flood water in the cistern to flush our toilet as we usually have no power.
When we had our solar panels installed in June, we had the inverter installed upstairs so that it will not get flooded. We have tried to get Energex to move the power box also but they consider it a safety risk for their meter readers to climb stairs...never mind our safety risk when it goes underwater. Once the water goes down Energex have to attend every time to check our power box...and an electrician has to inspect and replace power points before the power can be turned back on.
In this photo you can see a few more internal flood design features. We originally had gyprock which of course is ruined in a flood. Water can stay inside our home for 2-3 days and causes damage to painted walls. Our builder installed colourbond inside, to a height of 1.5m which unfortunately was not high enough for the 2012 flood. You can also see that our power points are raised above the colourbond to try and avoid water damage. The third thing in this photo of note is the metal furniture. These are just pressure cleaned after a flood and we don't take them upstairs.
It gets pretty crowded and we need every bit of space we can get. The boys go a bit stir-crazy being crowded inside. Note the saucepans on the railings to catch rainwater :)
This is not a great photo but it shows my old kitchen which was relocated upstairs so that we do not have to move fridges etc during a flood. Not an easy thing to do in the rain and going up steep stairs.
This is a photo taken in the main lounge after a flood clean-up. You can see the corrugated full length walls, the practical metal outdoor setting, the tiled floors (no rugs) and raised power points. The blue curtain leads into the boys room (my old kitchen). Our builder came up with a great idea after one of our floods:
He installed hinges on the doors that allow them to be removed. We can usually get to the doors before water gets into the house, store them upstairs, and put them back on afterwards. Genius! Beats replacing and repainting doors every time - they fill with water and are useless after flooding...they do burn well on the bonfire though!
These are the main things I can think of at the moment that we have done to our home. We also have to keep the kids possessions stored in plastic boxes (well, they don't always stay there but it does make it easier to move everything upstairs), do regular clear outs, and utilise metal hanging wardrobes...no walk in robes or built ins on the ground floor.
Please note that I am sharing these things in the hope that they may help someone who lives in a flood zone. For those of you who don't, I think some of these flood proof measures are just interesting anyway and something most people would not think of doing. I am not a hard-luck sour-sop type of person and do not share my story to play the 'victim'. I am accepting of my lot (finally!) and seek no sympathy, but am happy to share my story with you...because it is an important part of me. That I am slowly beginning to understand.
We have some beautiful memories during the floods, and I love how everyone comes together and does their part. It's a little like camping out...without the land.
What adventures do you and your family have? Have you had to adapt you home to your surroundings?