How to prepare your home, business or farm for a flood
We issue three types of warnings to help you prepare for flooding and take action:
Alerts cover large areas where flooding is possible from rivers or the sea.
Warnings cover smaller, community-level areas where we expect to see flooding of properties from rivers or the sea.
Severe warnings are issued when flooding from rivers or the sea may already be happening and there is danger to life.
Listen to advice from the emergency services and evacuate when told to do so.
You will be taken to an evacuation centre run by your local council. Free food and bedding is provided but you will need spare clothing, essential medication and baby care items if you have an infant.
Most evacuation centres will let you bring your pets. You should take pet food and remember to put cats and small animals in a pet carrier or secure box.
Blocked drains and gullies
Report flooding caused by blocked drains, gullies or water running off fields to your local authority.
Blocked rivers and landslides
Report flooding caused by blocked rivers, landslides or flooding from rivers and the sea to our 24 hours incident line on 03000 65 3000.
Problems with gas, electricity or sewerage
If you are concerned about floodwater affecting your gas, electricity, water or sewerage services, please call your supplier.
For sewer flooding, or if your toilet or sink is backing up during floods please call your local water company.
Your local authority may have some sandbags ready to deploy at times of flooding, but their priority is to protect the public at large.
You should check with them in advance to find out what their policy is, and if there is a charge for the service.
If your local authority doesn’t supply sandbags, you can buy your own supply from DIY stores and builder’s merchants.
Your local authority can also advise what to do with sandbags after a flood. They can be contaminated by flood water, sewage, oil or fuel and may need to be treated as contaminated waste.
Find more advice on sandbags and how to use them to prepare for a flood.
Make sure it's safe to return to your property:
If your electricity supply has not been switched off at the mains, get a qualified person to do this. DO NOT touch sources of electricity when standing in flood water.
In almost all cases, the insurance company will send a loss adjuster to look at your property. They will confirm what repairs and replacements are needed and which elements are covered by your policy.
Ask the insurance company:
Always make your own record of flood damage:
If you rent your property, contact your landlord and your contents insurance company as soon as possible.
If you do not have insurance, your local council should be able to provide information on hardship grants or charities that may be able to help you.
If you need more help and support contact:
Your Local Authority can advise you on:
Pump water out of your property using a generator:
Shovel mud evenly from both sides of a wall to stop pressure building up on one side
Clean and disinfect your property. A garden hose is useful but don't use high-pressure hoses because they blast contaminated matter into the air.
Keep doors and windows open to dry out your property or use a dehumidifier with the windows and doors closed.
Make sure your gas and central heating has been checked by an engineer before turning it on.
Local councils usually provide slips and extra rubbish collections for items you can throw away.
It is important to be aware of rogue traders. If you require specific advice your local authority’s trading standards department and local police force will be able to help you.
You can also contact Citizens Advice. Their Consumer Helpline number is 0808 223 1133 and their Welsh Speaking service is 0808 223 1144.
Here are some general pieces of advice:
If you believe you have been scammed, you can report it to Action Fraud. Report online to Action Fraud or call on 0300 123 2040.
It can be contaminated with sewage, chemicals and animal waste so always wash your hands thoroughly.
Never walk, drive through, or let children play in floodwater - six inches of fast flowing water can knock you over and two feet of water will float your car.
Flood water can rise very quickly - never walk on sea defences or river banks and be aware that bridges may be dangerous to walk or drive over.
Be careful of fallen trees and power lines. The flood water can also cause manhole covers to come off and flood culverts.
Start preparing for a flood before it happens. Find out if you're at risk of flooding and how to plan ahead:
How to prepare for flooding (available to print)
Who can help - poster (available to print)
Details of other organisations who can offer help and support: