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Flooding can come from several sources including rivers, coastal waters, groundwater, surface water or sewage surcharges.

There are a number of things you can do in advance to prepare for flooding and to minimise its effects.

Preparing for a flood

  • Ensure that you know your property's risk of flooding and what type. Assess your risk from river flooding.
  • If you are at risk you may be able to register for the Environment Agency's free flood warnings service.
  • Or you can call to sign up for Floodline Warnings Direct on 0845 988 1188 or Typetalk on 0845 602 6340.
  • Get to know the flood warning codes and what they mean from the Environment Agency website.
  • Consider preparing a flood emergency kit in the event of being asked to evacuate your home. This should include all important phone numbers, your key personal documents including bank cards and money, all regular medication,othermedical items such as spectacles, hearing aid, walking frame or stick.  Things for daily living such as tooth brush, towel, change of underwear. Babies will need a small supply of nappies, spare warm clothing and milk powder/baby food. 
  • Consider having sandbags or other methods to block doorways and airbricks. 
  • Check your buildings and contents insurance policy to confirm you are covered for flooding and that you haven't underestimated the value of your home contents.
  • Know how to turn off your gas, electricity and water supplies. If you are unsure how to do this ask your supplier for advice. Putting stickers on the taps and switches you need to turn off during an emergency makes it easier to remember and quicker to do.  Secure your home and close all your windows and doors.
  • Think about what you will do with pets, cars, furniture, electrical equipment and garden furniture should you be affected by flooding.

Responding during a flood

  • Tune into your local radio station or call Floodline to get the latest information. The Floodline phone number is 0845 988 1188.
  • Report property flooding or river blockages to the Environment Agency incident hotline on 0800 807 060 (Freephone, 24 hour service)
  • If safe to do so, turn off gas, electricity and water supplies before flood water enters your home.
  • If your home has been flooded you are advised to move your family and pets upstairs, or to a high place with a means of escape. Take care not to injure yourself if moving personal belongings to higher ground.  
  • Do not touch sources of electricity when standing in flood water.
  • Reduce your risk of drowning and injury by not driving through flood waters and avoid walking through flood water if possible.
  • If there is raw sewage in your property you should leave your property and seek alternative accommodation until the need for clean-up has been assessed and essential cleaning completed.

After a flood

  • Find out if it is safe to return to your property by keeping in close touch with the local authority recovery group and monitor the media.
  • Ring your insurance company as soon as possible and follow their advice. If you can access your property, take photographs for evidence.
  • During clean up always wear waterproof outerwear, boots and gloves, and wash hands regularly and especially before eating to reduce risks of injury and infectious disease. 
  • Get your local electricity supply checked before switching back on and have your gas or oil central heating checked by a qualified person before use.
  • Ensure good ventilation if using portable indoor heating appliances to dry out indoor spaces. Do not use petrol or diesel generators or other similar fuel- driven equipment indoors. The exhaust gases contain carbon monoxide which can kill. Public Health England offers public health advice on the dangers of carbon monoxide.
  • The stress and strain of being flooded and cleaning up can have a notable impact on mental health and wellbeing. Public Health England offers advice and guidance on the mental health effects of flooding and other topics related to flood recovery and  health.  Public Health England flooding advice
  • Your local council may provide skips for disposal of flood-damaged household items. 

Related pages

  • UK forecast
    Latest forecasts for regions around 7000 locations
  • Weather services
    Forecasts while at home, on the move, at sea and for your holidays.


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