We are currently experiencing our first ever house flood.
About 2.30am on Friday night I went to the kitchen and discovered that it was flooded and just starting to enter the living room.
First off I thought a pipe had burst or something was wrong with the washing machine (as has happened before) but after a quick survey of the situation and a peek in the dark outside the back of house I realised we were being flooded.
With very heavy continual rain for the past few days the massive amount of water pouring off the mountain side behind the house had just overwhelmed our protective drainage system and was then coming through our old farmhouse walls.
And it was rising fast.
I woke my wife and we kicked into action. By now most of the living room was already flooded and it was moving to the hallway. From there it was heading to the office.
The office is the centre of operations where all the computers were located and where I am writing this post.
We rushed to grab old towels and blankets and anything absorbent we could find to try to stem the flow from kitchen to living room.
We failed - it was rising too fast so we moved our efforts to barricading the door to the hallway. The dog's spare bed was even called into action.
We had more success there and managed to stop more ingress into the hallway and office.
The situation was just about under control. The flooding was contained in the kitchen and living room. My wife went back to bed. I stayed on watch until my wife came back on duty before 6am.
With daylight we were able to make a better assessment of the situation.
Being preppers, although flooding of the house was never on our risk radar, we were partially prepared.
We had an old submersible pump that was called into action to try to at least stabilise the still rising water level. The pump only had a capacity of 7000 litres per hour but it did seem to make some impact holding the kitchen to just around 4 inches.
We also had a builders dumpy bag of sand on hand, and a pile of hessian style sacks. Our youngest daughter joined in making sandbags. They reinforced much more effectively the barrier to the office in particular.
By now we were getting reports from friends of the situation around the area. The nearby town was more or less all flooded including the supermarket, many shops, the local college and many houses.
Indeed one friend's house was under 4 foot of water and the fire brigade was trying to pump him out. We were lucky with our meagre 4 inches.
This is all the fault of Callum - Storm Callum in fact...
Next we turned our attention to the back of the house. It was clear that we could not do anything about the existing drainage - it was just overwhelmed by the volume of water coming off the mountainside.
We started digging a secondary drainage ditch. My trusty mattock was definitely the tool for the job.
An hour or so later we had a working drainage ditch with a good flow of water away from the house. It still needs deepening further but it started to do its job.
With the extra drainage in place and the pump running full tilt, after a couple of hours the water level in the kitchen began to go down even though it was still raining heavily.
I stayed on duty through the night to monitor the pump. By the early hours of the morning - just over 24 hours after the flooding started the water was down to just over an inch and the submersible pump shut off. It had done it's job as best it could. It is now over to us to do some bailing...
The very annoying side effect of the flooding is that it got into the electrics of the fridge and central heating boiler. I am very much hoping that they will just come back on when the water has gone...
So this was, and still is, a real life prepping situation for a real life prepper.
We haven't done too badly. A bigger pump and having sandbags more immediately to hand could have been very useful. And a secondary drainage ditch looks like it will be a necessity.
But house flooding was never a risk on our preppers radar. Now it is.
Keep on prepping...
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[ images by @pennsif ]