Flooding - protecting your property and reacting to flood risk

Preparing for a flood could save your family, possessions and livelihood.

One in six properties in England is at risk of flooding - that’s almost 5 million people.

During the winter of 2015/2016 almost 17,000 homes and businesses flooded and the impacts of that were devastating. Statistics show that the average cost for a domestic flood is £50,000, with insurers spending nearly £27.5 million on alternative accommodation for affected families while their properties are repaired.

December 2015 was the wettest month in England since records began in 1910: with an ever-changing climate, significant numbers of homes and businesses remain at risk of flooding. The worrying fact is that only about half of the people who are in a flood risk area, actually know about it.

Have you ever checked to see if you are at risk from flooding? Would you know what to do in a flood? What could you do now to minimise damage to your property?

Is your property insured? The Association of British Insurers has some good advice about property insurance and flooding.

How do I know if my property is at risk of flooding?

There are simple things you can do now to help reduce the impact of flooding on your home. Start by taking three simple steps to help protect you, your family and home from the devastating effects flooding:
•    Use the Environment Agency’s maps to find out if you are at risk from flooding
•    Check if free flood warnings are available for your area and register online
You can also get the flooding history of the land around a property. This is a free service unless it's for a business or takes more than 18 hours to complete.

Preparing for flooding

Creating a plan

Read the Government's advice for preparing for emergencies. Do something to be prepared. Start with a quick personal flood plan and prepare an emergency kit. The British Red Cross provides suggestions on what might be useful to include. When preparing your plan, check your home insurance covers your home and your belongings in the case of a flood.

You should consider installing flood products. Visit the National Flood Forum for advice or an independent directory of flood products.

Read more about the importance of being prepared for the risk of flooding.

Here's a Flood Control Barrier in action (with thanks to Flood Control International)

An example of flood preparation good practice

Clearing up after a flood

If your home or business is affected by flooding, it’s important to stay safe when you’re clearing up.

  • Wear rubber boots, gloves and masks to clean up. Wash clothes used for cleaning on a separate cycle from your other clothes.
  • Wash clothes used for cleaning separately from your other clothes. Wash soft items (such as clothing, bedding and children's toys) on a 60 °C cycle with detergent.
  • Place rubbish in hard bins or in rubbish bags. Dispose of dead rodents and pests in a plastic bag, wearing rubber gloves.

Public Health England and the Environment Agency have produced a booklet with advice on planning, knowing what to do during a flood, and how to recover and clear up after a flood.