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Preparing for a flood

If flooding is forecast

  • Put your Personal Flood Plan into action if you have one, otherwise:
  • Check the Environment Agency's Three-day Flood Risk Forecast and the Met Office's Weather Forecast and familiarise yourself with their warning codes.
  • Tune into local radio and TV for local weather information.
  • Check that your home insurance is adequate, up to date and covers flooding.
  • Know how to turn off gas, water and electricity - if necessary ask your supplier.
  • Put together a flood kit of essential items including waterproof clothing, blankets, mobile phone, portable radio, torch, spare batteries, first aid kit, essential medication, bottled water, non-perishable food, a tin opener, home insurance documents and important contact numbers. Keep this kit in a safe and accessible place.
  • Move upstairs or on to high shelves important documents, personal items and valuables.
  • Think about what you should do with your pets if your house floods.
  • Tell your friends and neighbours about the flood warning and your preparations.

If flooding is imminent

  • Call the Environment Agency's Floodline 0845 988 1188 for real time flood information.
  • Fill jugs and pans with drinking water and the bath and buckets with water for washing.
  • Switch off gas, water and electricity at the mains before water enters your house. Don't touch sources of electricity whilst standing in water.
  • Put plugs in low-level sinks, shower trays and baths and weigh them down well.
  • Disconnect appliances like washing machines and dishwashers that use water.
  • Raise large items of furniture on blocks or put them in large bags.
  • If possible, move outdoor pets and belongings and vehicles to higher ground.
  • Block airbricks, vents and other low-level openings. Plastic sheeting supported by boards and held in place by plastic sacks filled with soil is an effective short term measure.
  • Boarding nailed across outside door jambs and sealed with old carpet or newspaper can help to hold back floodwater. Heavy duty polythene stapled or pinned across door jambs and sills can keep out shallow water.

If you need to travel

  • Check the Highways Agency's Road Travel Information.
  • Let someone know your travel plans.
  • Only drive through floodwater if you know that it's not too deep for your vehicle.
  • Drive slowly in a low gear to avoid creating bow waves that can flood property and damage the engine. Test your brakes after leaving the water.
  • Don't assume that a ford is always safe to cross. The depth of the water and flow rate change with the weather.
  • Remember that:
  • 30cm of flowing water is enough to move the average family car
  • 15cm of fast flowing water can knock you off your feet
  • 60cm of standing water will float a car
  • An eggcup of water sucked into the engine is enough to wreck it

Preparing your Personal Flood Plan

Follow this link to plan in advance what you will do if your property is threatened by flooding.

Published: 30 Jan 2015
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