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Afllod sign in a flooded street

Flood warnings - for the latest flood alerts, follow this link to the Environment Agency website www.environment-agency.gov.uk


Be prepared

  • Make sure your home is adequately insured and major contents listed
  • Make sure your property is in good repair
  • Know how and where to turn off your water, electricity and gas supplies
  • Acquire carrying boxes or baskets for pets
  • Collect and maintain a home emergency pack

Gather information

Listen to the weather forecast, travel updates, flood warnings on your local radio station

For local weather information follow this link: Bad weather conditions.


Before a flood

  • Put your home emergency pack in a safe, accessible place
  • Protect doorways and low level vents with sandbags (remember to unblock these vents before switching everything back on)
  • Consider stocking sandbags now (your district/borough council may not be able to supply them)
  • Move valuables, food and other possessions upstairs where possible
  • Turn off gas and electricity if flooding is definitely about to happen to your property

During a flood

  • Co-operate fully with the emergency services
  • Do not switch on electricity or gas until these have been inspected by a qualified engineer
  • Do not use food that has been in contact with flood water
  • Assume that flood water contains sewage
  • Ensure that you wear gloves when handling affected items
  • Thoroughly disinfect and dry affected household items

After a flood

  • Call your insurance company. Tell them what has happened and if possible take photographs of damaged items prior to disposal, as this may help your insurance claim
  • Check the yellow pages under Flood Damage for suppliers of cleaning materials or equipment to dry out your property
  • Contact the gas, electricity and water companies. You will need to have your supplies checked before you turn them back on
  • Open the doors and windows to ventilate your home (it takes a brick about 25mm/1inch a month to dry out)
  • Remember to unblock your airbricks and doorways, but take care to ensure your house is secure against intruders
  • Watch out for any broken glass or nails whilst your are cleaning up
  • Wash taps and run water for a few minutes before use. Mains tap water should not be contaminated, but check with your local water company if you are concerned
  • Do not turn on any electrical equipment until you are sure it has dried out
  • Beware of bogus traders - with so much damage it is tempting to take the first offer that comes along
  • Don't panic if you can't cope. There are organisations which may be able to help or advise such as the Fire and Rescue Services, District/Borough Councils and the Citizens Advice Bureaux
  • Remember, don't think it can't happen again - restock your supplies

Drying out and redecorating your property after flooding

  • Initially, all floor coverings should be removed and walls washed with clean water only
  • To help the house to dry out, windows and doors should be left open as much as possible and a fire kept alight or heat provided in each room
  • Lift one or two floorboards, particularly against outside walls, to increase the draught under the floor
  • Any furniture standing near walls should be removed and the wallpaper stripped off the flooded parts of walls
  • Any silt that has found its way under the house should be cleared away and under-floor gratings should be cleared. Silt or earth accumulated against brickwork above the damp-proof course should be cleared away and built-in cupboards left open - especially the one under the staircase
  • Walls may become covered with a white powder as they dry out. This is the salt already present in the bricks and should be brushed off dry
  • Under-floor timbers and floorboards of suspended floors must be dried before replacing floor coverings. It is safer to use loose rugs for six months because the longer the floor remains damp, the greater the chance of rot setting in and this will cause decay and the loss of strength of the wood
  • If the house is built of brick or stone, the walls will take some months to dry out. Do not rush to re-decorate
  • If re-decoration is necessary, the walls should be treated with an anti-mould solution and decorated with distemper or emulsion paint
  • If the plaster was already perished, it may have been weakened further by the flooding and may need to be replaced. Re-plastering should be carried out as soon as possible, but then leave the walls bare for a while to dry out
  • Hinges and locks may need oiling to prevent them from seizing up

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