Flood damage information

by Adrian Waters

Around 5 million people, in 2 million properties, live in flood risk areas in England and Wales. In recent years we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of floods and other water damage. Whilst it may not be possible for you to eliminate the risk of flooding entirely, there are steps that you can take to minimise the damage should it occur.


  • Ensure you have the correct value home buildings and contents insurance and that it includes cover for flood damage.
  • Go to the Environment Agency Flood Website and the Environment Agency Flood Warning System
  • Environment Agency Floodline (0845 9881188) can offer more detailed advice about flood planning.
  • Flood protection equipment that is approved by the Environment Agency is available on their website.
  • Learn how to turn off your gas, electricity and water supply

When flooding is expected

  • If they are available, fill sandbags (three quarters full) and position them in doorways
  • Block up airbricks and other ventilation/openings near the ground
  • Talk to your neighbours to ensure they know to prepare
  • Move as many possessions as you can upstairs (hopefully) out of harm's way.
  • Fill bottles with water and move them upstairs
  • Make sure you have clothes, food, medicines, torch, mobile phone and financial paperwork (including your insurance details and debit/credit cards) upstairs
  • Help vulnerable neighbours with their preparations
  • Listen to local radio or call Floodline (0845 9881188) for up to date information

During a Flood

  • Turn off gas and electricity supplies
  • If possible, don’t enter floodwater as it will often be contaminated by sewage and industrial waste
  • It is safer to stay at home until it is confirmed that the waters have peaked
  • If your home is heavily flooded but it is not safe to go outside, stay upstairs and await the Emergency Services (they will visit homes and evacuate/rescue if necessary)
  • If you have nowhere to go, emergency centres will be available
  • If you require assistance for evacuation contact the emergency services
  • Only call 999 if there is an urgent threat to life

After flooding

  • Do not enter the flood water unless it is absolutely necessary
  • Do not attempt to clear up until you have contacted your insurance company (they will need to assess the damage first)
  • Make sure your electrical and gas supplies are tested by your suppliers before you switch them on again
  • You may well need to get rid of carpets, curtains, furniture, toys, food etc, if they have been exposed to dirty floodwater. Dispose of items legally.

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