Flooding

Flooding can occur in many ways, including rivers, run-off from surrounding land and the sea. The physical and emotional impacts to families, communities and livelihoods because of flood water can be devastating and long-lasting.

To find out if you are at risk:

  • Search for your property using the government Flood Information Service
  • Check for records of previous flood events with the Environment Agency and local authorities – including your town or parish council

If you find you are at risk, see our ‘before, during and after tips’ and Get Prepared information about preparing for emergencies at home, in your community and at work.


Top tips!

  • Understand the causes of flooding in your area – this will help you identify the best ways to reduce your risk and develop response plans
  • Sign up for the Environment Agency Floodline Warnings Direct service
  • Save useful websites as favourites on your computer or tablet, so that you can access them quickly if required, good examples are included in related links
  • Download useful apps for your mobile or tablet, good examples include:
  • Think about investing in defence products or adaptations for your home. It is your responsibility as owner or landlord to protect your property from flooding. For help in choosing the right solution for you, see our sandbag and property level protection advice
  • Check your home and car insurance policies, make sure they are adequate for your needs and you know how to make a claim
  • See our Get Involved information for more information on initiatives in your area

Useful Links: Met Office Forecasts; Flood Information Service

For general tips, see our Get Prepared information about preparing for emergencies at home, in your community and at work.


Remember, always stay safe: in an immediate flood emergency or where there is a risk to life, follow the advice of the emergency services or call 999

If you are affected by flood water you should report it to the responsible agency as follows:

Top tips!

Take necessary steps to protect yourself and your property including:

  • Move valuable items upstairs and put flood protection measures in place
  • Secure any outside items that may cause further damage
  • Turn off utilities to parts of the property that may be flooded and do not drink water from the mains supply – it may be contaminated
  • Tune into local media for updates and follow advice from the emergency services
  • Keep up to date with alerts and forecasts – check the related links for useful information

Further practical advice:

  • Avoid driving through flood water; you may be putting yourself and others at risk. For information on driving and dealing with floods, visit the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency
  • Do not try to walk through flood water, it may be deeper than it appears, or be concealing dangerous obstacles
  • Do not enter moving water – moving water 18 inches (45cm) deep can knock an adult over
  • Be aware of the location of drain and manhole covers, water pressure can lift them out of place
  • All flood water is potentially contaminated. Do not allow children to play in it and ensure that you wash yourself thoroughly if you have been in contact with flood water
  • Ensure where possible that drains and screens are clear of debris to allow water to flow away freely
  • Do not approach any power cables that have been brought down by the weather – they could still be live
  • Check that pets and livestock kept outside can move freely and escape rising water
  • If you are travelling in remote areas ensure that family or friends know when you are leaving and your expected arrival time

Useful Links: Live Flood Warnings; Live River Levels; Live Weather Warnings; 5-Day Flood Forecast


Following a flood there will be hazards revealed as the water clears, consider the following as you recover from the impacts of an incident.

Top Tips!

  • Assume floodwater has been contaminated with sewage and avoid contact wherever possible. For further health advice when dealing with flood affected areas visit Public Health England
  • It’s important to stop harmful germs that might be present in floodwater from spreading to food. For advice on cleaning preparation areas after a flood visit the Food Standards Agency
  • Flooding presents a number of hazards to utilities in the home. Follow electric and gas safety advice before switching them back on
  • Contact your insurer if you haven’t already, and let them know the situation. They will advise you of the next steps to take in restoring your home and belongings.
  • Report it. Reporting when your property has flooded helps the Council investigate why the flood has occurred and look for possible methods to mitigate the risk of it happening again in the future

Useful Links: Community and Business Recovery Scheme; Association of British Insurers

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