Flood Safe,
Cambrian House,
1 Cambrian Place,
Powys SY18 6BX

We Flood Too!

Sue and Joe standing outside the chapelWe developed this alarm system to help protect our own home from flooding. Yes, we flood too. This is our story.

In April 2003 we bought a disused chapel just outside Llanidloes. The chapel was in a beautiful location on the banks of the river Severn.

The Chapel from the river side, under normal situationWe briefly hesitated about buying the property when the chapel’s neighbours, Gareth and Liz, warned us that the chapel occasionally flooded. In their long experience the river frequently flooded the garden, and once every few years the water rose high enough to flood into the chapel.

Caravan and flood waterBut by that point we had fallen in love with chapel and couldn’t back out. For the next two years we lived in a caravan in the garden while we converted the chapel into our home. We put the caravan on huge pillars to keep it above the flood water, but as you can see from the photos it got pretty close at times!

Flood defence boards in placeWhen we moved into the chapel we bought some fantastic flood defences. These were cleverly designed boards that slotted into place by the front door of the chapel to stop the water coming in. We relaxed thinking that we were safe.

Then one morning a couple of months after moving in, Joe went downstairs and noticed that the lobby floor was wet. His first thought was that our under-floor heating had leaked. A worrying thought. But then he realised that the floor was covered in a fine mud and pine needles.

The river had flooded while we were sleeping and we hadn’t even known about it! We were astonished at how quickly the flood waters had risen during the night. As long as our flood defences were neatly tucked away under the stairs they were useless.

Then we started worrying. Each time it rained hard we wondered how high the river might rise. At what point would we need to go home and put the flood defences in? We obsessively checked the weather forecast to see how hard it would rain overnight.

We were scared to go away for the weekend in case the weather turned bad. We left the flood boards in place for days at a time, climbing over them to get into and out of the chapel, scared to take them down in case it flooded without us knowing.

We looked online for flood alarm systems and found none. We rang all the flood defence companies we could find and were told there was nothing on the market. We had drawn a blank.

Flood sensor housing in place on the river bankLuckily Joe has engineering skills and experience. He designed and installed our first flood alarm system with a sensor on the river bank.

Prototype Sensor survives first floodWe knew that if the flood waters reached that high then we had only another couple more feet before it reached the front door of the chapel. This would give us enough time to get the flood boards in place.

We were delighted when a few months later the alarm woke us up in the middle of the night. It worked!

These are the pictures we took at dawn as the water levels fell on that sleep-deprived and rather frightening night.

Chapel surrounded by flood waterThe first time we had seen the river really flooding. It didn’t reach the chapel door that night, but it reassured us that Joe’s system worked.

Over the years Joe has gradually modified and improved our flood alarm system, and for four years now it has kept us safe and dry.

We have set it up so that it rings our mobile phones when we are out or away. And if we don’t respond then it rings our lovely neighbours, Gareth and Liz, who have a spare key and know how our flood boards work.

Then we started thinking that if we needed this flood alarm system, then maybe others would too.

So we have launched this website and the FloodSafe 3000 to see if other people need something to help them sleep at night. We hope you find it as useful as we do!

Full System

System Info

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Useful Information

Environment Agency - Types of flood protection products