Flooding

Flooding can come from several sources including rivers, the sea, groundwater, reservoirs, 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.

Floods destroy, be prepared

Responding during a flood

  • Tune into your local radio station or call Floodline on 0845 988 1188 to get the latest information. 
  • Report property flooding or river blockages to the Environment Agency incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60 (freephone 24 hour service).
  • If safe to do so, turn off gas, electricity and water supplies before flood water enters your home.
  • During a flood move people and pets upstairs, or to a high place with a means of escape.
  • Don't drive through flood waters and avoid driving if at all possible.
  • Follow the advice of emergency services if they tell you to evacuate.

After a flood

  • Take care. There may be dangers in the water such as sharp objects and raised manhole covers. Flood water may have caused structural damage to buildings. Find out if it is safe to return to your property by monitoring the media and Local Authority website.
  • Ring your insurance company as soon as possible and follow their advice. If you can access your property, take photographs for evidence.
  • Flood water can contain sewage, chemicals and animal waste. 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.
  • If your electricity supply is not already switched off, get a qualified person to do this. Don't touch sources of electricity when standing in flood water. Have your gas or oil central heating checked by a qualified person.
  • Your local authority may help provide skips for clearing flood-damaged household items. 
  • 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. The Health Protection Agency offers HPA 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. The Health Protection Agency offers advice and guidance on the mental health effects of flooding and other topics related to flood recovery and health.  

For more information on identifying a flood read the Flood identity briefing flood identity brieifing (PDF, 391 kB) .

Flood awareness campign

The campaign launched by the EA aims to raise awareness of flooding and encouraging people to take action to protect their homes.

Flood awareness campaign poster

Download the  Flood awareness campaign poster camapign poster (PDF, 626 kB) for your community.

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