One of the worst things that can ever happen to your home is for it to be affected by flooding.

Flooding is a very difficult thing to comprehend and to deal with because it often happens very quickly.

Water is such an everyday and normally harmless substance and yet flood water is so difficult to stop or even divert. It can pass through brickwork as if it wasn’t there and appear up through floorboards from under your house in minutes.

The key message has to be that as a householder and owner of a business you should be proactive and never assume that you are safe, even if you live on high ground.

Flooding is described in three main types: river flooding, coastal flooding and surface flooding.

The last category also includes run off from hills and drains that overflow to flood premises. As a householder or business owner you need to appreciate that it is your responsibility to protect your property and it is very unlikely that the local authority will be able to rush to your aid.

That means you need to carryout a risk assessment around your property. Again, this is where many people will say they don’t believe flooding is a risk to them because of their location.

Please don’t fall into this trap. If you look at the flood maps produced by SePA, and available on their website, there are few areas of North Ayrshire that are not at risk of some type of flooding.

You need to think out of the box and look further than your own property. If there is land higher than your property then look and see if there is a water source such as a river, stream, culvert or drainage system which might overflow and could send water down the hill towards your property.

Once you have assessed the risk, try to imagine the consequences and what you would do in a flood situation both to prevent damage to your property, and if it is affecting your house, what you would do if you needed to leave your premises.

Prevention is better than cure and traditionally we all think of sandbags which we expect would be delivered by the local authority. It is not the job of the local authority to deliver sandbags to houses or to businesses.

They will always try to help out but they simply don’t have the staff or the sandbags to be able to do this.

In a flooding situation it is often difficult just to get through to a local authority, especially outside of normal hours.

Sandbags are, in my opinion, outdated. There are many modern solutions but one of the best is a product called “FloodSax” ( which look like empty sandbags.

They come in lightweight packs and you can lay them down in the position that you want and just pour water onto them. Of course, there is usually plenty water about and the FloodSax then swell up to provide an instant barrier.

It doesn’t take much water to force you out of your home. Floodwater is dirty, unhygienic and very smelly. even a small amount of water entering your property will cause serious problems and may require you to isolate the power. If water does get into the electrics then you may need the assistance of Fire and Rescue to ensure that your property is safe. Try to make up a grab bag in advance or at least have a list of what you want to take with you.

Remember, flooding can happen all year round and you need to be ready. Check out the SePA website and watch out for Weather Warning and Flood Warning on the Largs Community Resilience Team Facebook page.