The UK's famed for its rather dismal weather, but you might've noticed that the weather's been more wet and torrential than damp and dreary recently. So, we've rounded up a list of flood-busting items you might want to stick under your bed. Y'know, just in case.
Just because there's too much water all around you, doesn't mean that it's all safe to drink -- sticking your mug into your local flooded river would probably get you a cupful of ciggie buts and a few dead birds. Given that utilities can go down in flooded areas quite easily, and that they're a bit of a bugger to get back working, you'll want to stockpile a bit of drinking water, just to be on the safe side. Average drinking water consumption is around three litres per day, so try and stockpile about ten litres per person, just to be on the safe side.
Tinned food is the clear leader here. Your fridge-full of caviar and roasted pheasant will go off pretty damn quick when there's no power, so tinned food is a safe back-up. Just make sure you get to the supermarket before the rest of the panic-shoppers, or you'll be left with nothing but Spam. Oh, and don't forget a non-electric tin opener too.
Fancy contactless payment systems don't work so good when there's no power. In a post-flood apocalyptic Wales, cash is king.
First Aid Kit
If nothing else, it's a good opportunity to upgrade that battered old box of band-aids to something more swanky. If you've got the money, outdoors-oriented first aid kits tend to be more useful than the Health & Safety-approved box-ticking band-aid-holders you find in most offices.
Image credit: Purell
Think of flood water as a pre-evolutionary biological soup teeming with bacteria just waiting to jump ship and infect you. You're not far wrong. Hand sanitiser, to be liberally applied before eating/after fishing your prized possessions out of the infected swampwater. It'll help you avoid all sorts of nasties.
Image credit: Sandbags from Shutterstock
Before giving up all hope and abandoning your beloved home, it's worth trying to protect your property. A few well-placed sandbags can do a world of good protecting those prized Persian rugs.
Image credit: Powermonkey
A fairly epically-sized portable battery to keep all your gadgets juiced up, and let you while away the floods with round after round of Angry Birds. Even comes with a solar charger. (Though whether or not that's useful in a storm/in Britain in winter is another matter.)
Image credit: NP Power
If you're the type who's just gotta have some mains power, no matter what, then a deep-cycle battery might come in handy. Designed to power equipment on caravans and yachts, these sorts of batteries will provide you mains power with none of that complicated, smelly generator stuff. Only really a short-term solution though.
Image credit: Generator from Shutterstock
For areas that are harder-hit by floods, it can take days on end to reconnect power supplies. If you don't want to run the risk, a generator can serve your power needs in the interim. It'll also make you everyone's best friend in the next blackout. (Pro tip: don't keep your in-case-of-a-flood generator in the basement. You'll feel a fool when the poor thing gets drowned.)
You've got the generator, you've hidden up in the attic to ride out the flood, but it's just not the same without being able to catch up on Strictly. This is where the MiFi comes in. Assuming the cell network isn't down, you'll be able to curl up and watch Bruce Forsyth all night long.
Image credit: Satellite phone from Shutterstock
A flood that knocks out all the cell towers is NOT an excuse for not calling your mum on her birthday. Or, y'know, trying to call up mountain rescue. It's kinda handy for that too.
Personal Location Beacon
A radio-frequency distress beacon, normally more of use on ships, but they've just been legalised for general use in the UK. Plus, if the flooding gets high enough, your house might just become a ship.
Waterproof Smartphone Case
Image credit: Ortlieb
Crack! Fizzle! Pop! .... is the noise your shiny new smartphone will make when it drops into the bloated water of the Thames (or whichever flooded river you happen to be near). There are all sorts of waterproof cases you can get, but speaking from personal experience, Ortlieb document cases (the A6 size ones) are actually the most waterproof and robust of the lot. (Plus they won't break the bank.) Go for the A4 one if you've got an iPad in dire need of protection from the elements.
Deck of cards
Image credit: Cards from Shutterstock
When all your tech fails (there there, it'll come back to life in the end), this is the fallback. Google some games if you need to (oh, wait, that's not going to work...).
Pack of condoms
Image credit: Condoms from Shutterstock
What else do I have to say? Nothing more romantic than a half-flooded house, and this article is all about staying safe after all...
Top image credit: Man in umbrella from Shutterstock