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You can prepare for flooding by taking a few practical steps.

See the latest flood alerts from the Environment Agency.

Plan ahead to reduce flood damage

You can prepare for flooding by taking a few practical steps:

  • Check that your home and buildings insurance covers flooding
  • Find out if damaged belongings will be replaced with new ones either through warranty or through your insurance
  • If you rent, contact your landlord to find out about the insurance cover for your flat or house
  • Make sure you know how to turn off your gas, water or electricity - if you are not sure, ask your supplier for advice
  • Keep a kit of essential items like copies of your insurance documents, a battery powered torch and radio and a first aid kit
  • Buy special protection flood products like flood boards and airbrick covers to help reduce flood damage
  • Check your flood protection products have a British Standards Institution (BSI) Kitemark - this means they have been tested to a recognised standard
  • Complete a personal flood plan which will help you document your preparation
  • Sign up to receive flood warnings:
    • Online - Flood advice
    • By Phone - On 0845 988 1188 or using Typetalk on 0845 602 6340

You can also download and print off the Environment Agencies prepare your property for flooding booklet which covers all aspects of flooding in the home.

Prepare Your Property For Flooding (pdf 2,459.12 KB)

Personal Flood Plan (pdf 185.40 KB)

What to do in a flooding emergency

You can read more about what to do if you have a flooding emergency in your home on our What to do in an Emergency section.

What to do after a flood

If you were evacuated from your property because of flooding, the most important thing after a flood is finding out if it is safe to return to your property. You will be told when it's safe for you to return by someone from either:

  • From the emergency services
  • Your insurance company
  • The local council
  • Your water and sewage company

Checking your electricity supply and electrical appliances

After a flood, you should check that the electricity has been switched off at the mains. If you are not sure that it has been switched off, you should get a qualified person to do this. You should not touch sources of electricity while standing in floodwater. You should also make sure any electrical appliance that's been in contact with floodwater is checked out by a qualified electrician.

Getting rid of water after a flood

Wait until the water levels are lower outside your property than inside before getting rid of it using a pump or bucket. You can hire or buy a pump and generator from a DIY shop. Make sure you put the generator outside to avoid poisonous carbon monoxide from the exhaust building up indoors.

Cleaning up after a flood

Floodwater can be contaminated with sewage, chemicals and animal waste. When clearing up, you should:

  • Wear protective clothing, like rubber gloves, waterproof jacket and trousers.
  • Use a face mask.
  • Wash your hands with disinfectant if you come into contact with floodwater, or handle anything that has been in contact with floodwater.

If you feel unwell after coming into contact with flood water call NHS Direct on 0845 4647 or contact your GP.

When clearing up, shovel mud away from both sides of the wall to stop pressure building up on one side.

Making an insurance claim after a flood

If you rent, contact your landlord to check what buildings insurance is in place.

You should check any buildings and contents insurance you have to:

  • Make sure you're covered for flooding.
  • Find out if your flood-damaged belongings will be replaced with new ones (a 'new for old' policy)

You should make your own record of the flood damage. You can do this by taking photos, notes or making videos. You should also make sure you keep a record of everything related to your claim (letters, receipts and telephone calls to and from the insurance company).

When you call the insurance company, ask:

  1. How long it will be before the loss adjuster visits.
  2. If they will organise and pay for cleaning and redecorating your home.
  3. If they will help pay for repairs that will reduce potential flood damage and therefore reduce the costs if it happens again.

If you do not have insurance, your local council should be able to provide information on hardship grants or charities that may be able to help you.

Doing repair work on your property after a flood

Make sure you talk to your insurer before undertaking any work to find out what work can be paid for under your policy before starting any repairs. Your insurer will usually pay for like-for-like repairs, restoring your home to a similar state to before the flood. You are likely to have to pay for any work beyond like-for-like repairs yourself. The cost of making your home better able to deal with flooding is likely to be a lot less than the cost of clearing up after flood.

Alterations you may want to consider are:

  • Laying ceramic tiles on the ground floor.
  • Using rugs instead of fitted carpets.
  • Raising the height of electrical sockets to at least 1.5 metres above ground floor level.
  • Fitting stainless steel, plastic or solid wood kitchens instead of chipboard ones.
  • Putting main parts of a heating or ventilation system, like a boiler, upstairs or raised well above the ground floor.
  • Fitting non-return valves to all drains and water inlet pipes, which only let water flow one way.
  • Replacing wooden window frames and doors with man-made ones like UPVC - they are easier to clean.

Driving during a flood

To find out more please visit our flood driving advice page.