Floods can happen quickly and with little or no warning. If it happened to you, would you know what to do?

If you live in a flood risk area, it’s important to think ahead and consider what actions you could take to prepare in advance. If you had to leave your home, where would you go? What should you take with you? Do you have any valuable items to protect? You might find it useful to complete a flooding checklist to work through some of these questions. In the first instance, some quick actions to take are:

  • Move family, valuables and pets to a safe place.
  • Park vehicles on higher ground.
  • Pack a bag of essentials to take with you.
  • Turn off gas, electricity and water (if safe to do so!)
  • Put flood protection equipment in place, if available.
  • Check on neighbours to see if they need any assistance.

The Environment Agency’s three-tier flood warning system – Prepare Act Survive – recommends the following steps to take:

Flood alert: Prepare

  • Prepare a bag that includes medicines and insurance documents.
  • Check flood warnings.

Flood warning: Act

  • Turn off gas, water and electricity.
  • Move things upstairs or to safety.
  • Move family, pets and car to safety.

Severe flood warning: Survive

  • Call 999 if in immediate danger.
  • Follow advice from emergency services.
  • Keep yourself and your family safe.

A few flooding facts

  • Just 15cm of fast flowing water can knock you off your feet.
  • Electric currents can pass along downed power lines in flood waters.
  • A car can float in just 60cm of standing water or 30cm of moving water.
  • Flash floods can cause walls of water 10 to 20 feet high.

Flood protection

Some local authorities may be able to provide sandbags to properties which are most at risk. However, supply cannot be guaranteed as resources are limited so you should contact your local authority for more information.

There are a number of options to protect your property against flooding, such as flood gates or flood sacks, specialist doors and seals for airbricks. For more information, visit nationalfloodforum.org.uk or www.gov.uk/prepare-for-flooding.