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Preparing for floods and flooding

Published on 08 February 2022

Practical advice on how to prepare for floods and flooding

Has your home been identified by the Environment Agency as being within an area that may be prone to flooding? Click here to find out.

If the answer is yes, we’re here to provide you with some practical advice on how to keep you and your family safe and to help reduce the damage to your home.

Prepare for flooding

  • Make sure you have contents insurance. We’re not responsible if the contents of your home are damaged, as we only insure the building.
  • Keep a record of the contents in your home along with the value of each item, with receipts if possible. If you need to make an insurance claim this could help you get your claim paid more quickly.
  • Make a list of useful contact details, including your insurance company and our contact details too.
  • Make copies of important personal documents and keep these in a sealed plastic bag to protect them from water damage.
  • Make a list of things to do and essential items to take with you if flooding happens.
  • Keep any flood prevention products for example bungs, vent covers, flood gates, and sandbags where you can get to them easily.
  • Prepare a flood kit, including items like a torch, waterproof clothing, bottled water, a phone charger, essential medicines, and a portable radio.
  • Sign up to receive free 24-hour Floodline Warnings by phone, text or email direct from the Environment Agency. 

If you receive a Flood Alert, or if flooding is possible

  • Check regular news updates through social media, your local radio station or TV.
  • Pack essential items you will need if evacuated – medicines, clothing, toiletries, blankets and items for children.
  • Put your mobile phone on charge in case you lose power.
  • Move pets, valuables and other items to safety (upstairs if possible).
  • Alert your neighbours, particularly elderly or vulnerable people.
  • Put any flood protection products or equipment in place, but make sure your property is ventilated.
  • If you can, move any vehicles to away from the flood risk.
  • Install any flood prevention products (bungs, vent covers, flood gates, sandbags etc).
  • Put plugs into any downstairs sinks and baths and cover these with a sandbag to stop water coming up from the pipes.
  • Put sandbags in any downstairs toilet bowls to prevent sewage back-flow coming up from the pipes.
  • Do as much as you can in daylight. Doing anything in the dark will be a lot harder, especially if the electricity fails.

During flooding

  • Turn off water, gas and electricity supplies at the first sign of flooding in your home.
  • Keep calm, if you are in danger dial 999 and/or attract attention of people nearby.
  • If the Emergency Services are on the scene, follow their instructions. You may be evacuated to a rest centre.
  • Stay safe - don't walk, swim or drive through floodwater. The flood waters may be contaminated with sewage and there may be hidden dangers.
  • If you are evacuated or have to leave your home, remember to shut your windows, lock your doors and take mobile phones and chargers with you.

After flooding

  • Contact our Customer Service Centre to discuss what has happened. 
  • Contact your contents insurer as a matter of urgency and continue to liaise closely with them.
  • Do not switch on gas or electricity until this has been checked and it is safe to do so. Make a note of all your meter readings.
  • Assume flood water contains sewage, and always wear waterproof gloves when touching anything soiled by the flood water.
  • Take photographs if you can.

Flooded homes

  • We will work with our insurers to assess the damage of the building and determine what repair work is required for you to return safely.
  • If you can’t stay with family or friends in the meantime, there is no need to worry. Your local authority, contents insurers or Places for People will be able to provide you with temporary rehousing.
  • Follow the advice provided by your contents insurer about removal of food, contaminated, or damaged items.
  • Keep us updated if any of your contact details change so that we can keep you informed about any repair work.