Floodline Warnings Direct
This is a free service that gives you advance warning of flooding in your area. The warning is issued as an automated message that can be received by your home phone, mobile phone, email, pager and fax. You can find out more information or sign up for this free service by calling Floodline on 0345 988 1188 or Typetalk 0345 602 6340 for the hard of hearing.
Sign up online for flood warnings
A flood in your home may be caused by various sources
- Burst water pipes
- Flooding during heavy storms causing overloading of sewers or drains
- Overland flooding due to high water table or more likely due to overloaded rivers and streams
- Flooding due to failure of tanks and reservoirs is unlikely
If you live in a flood risk area, the Environment Agency will probably have issued you with flooding guidelines. These are the stages of flood warnings as issued by the agency:
- Flood Alert: flooding is possible, be prepared
- Flood Warning: flooding is expected, immediate action required
- Severe Flood Warning: severe flooding, danger to life
- All clear: an all clear will be issued when flood watches or warnings are no longer in force. Flood water levels receding. Check all is safe to return. Seek advice.
Prepare for flooding
An information guide is now available for residents to help prepare for flooding.
What to do after a flood
Put your own safety first at all times.
- Avoid electrical shock, wear rubber boots. Keep electrical extension cables out of water. If you have any doubts about the safety of gas or electrical systems get professional advice.
- Make sure all electrical appliances are properly switched off before electricity is restored.
- If your fuse board or sockets have been submerged do not switch the power on until the system has been checked by an electrician.
- If your gas meter or any gas appliance has been submerged, contact the British Gas emergency freephone 0800 111 999 before switching the gas on or trying to light any appliance.
- Record details of any damage with photographs or video if possible.
- Contact your insurance company.
- Work out an action plan to: remove all water, mud and other debris. Rinse away contamination inside the house. Remove the rinse water, disinfect and dry out your home and salvageable possessions.
- Assemble equipment and supplies: ensure you have gloves, masks and other protective gear, buckets, mops, squeegees, plastic bags, bleach, detergent and also containers for soaking bedding and clothing, and lines to hang them to dry. You may also need to hire extension cables, submersible pumps, wet/dry vacuum cleaners, dehumidifiers or space heaters.
- Valuable papers that have been damaged should be stored in a freezer until you have time to work on them.
Cleaning your home
Always use household gloves to protect your hands.
- Cover open cuts and wounds on exposed skin with waterproof plaster.
- Remove all soft furnishings and fittings that are damaged beyond repair.
- Remove dirty water and silt from the property including the space under the ground floor (if you have suspended floors). This space under the ground floor may need to be pumped out.
- Wash down all hard surfaces with hot soapy water until they look clean.
- Use a domestic disinfectant making sure you follow the manufacturer's directions.
- Food preparation surfaces, storage cupboards, refrigerators, etc., should have a final wash down with food-safe disinfectants.
- Allow all cleansed areas to thoroughly dry, this will also help to destroy any germs left behind.
- Heating and good ventilation will help with the drying process.
Clothing and bedding
Clothing, bedding and other soft/fabric articles including children's toys should be washed at the highest temperature possible as indicated on the manufacturer's instructions. Other soft furnishings that cannot be put in the washing machine will have to be professionally cleaned - if this is not possible, dispose of the article.
Reoccupation of your home
It is recommended that you only move back into affected rooms once the cleaning has been carried out. Be aware that further work may have to be carried out on the advice of your insurance company.
- Try and have some heating on at all times.
- The use of a dehumidifier is highly recommended.
- Ensure your home is well ventilated. Leave windows open as much as possible.
- Ensure that airbricks to any underfloor spaces are unblocked to ensure a free flow of air.
Preparation of food
Surfaces that food may come into contact with must be disinfected.
- If worktops show signs of flood damage do not use them.
- Ensure food storage shelves, including your refrigerator, are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
- Ensure that all crockery, pots and pans are cleaned and washed with very hot water before use. Disinfectant can also be used. Chipped or damaged items should be thrown away.
- Ensure that water taps are cleaned and disinfected before use.
- Wash your hands before preparing food.
- Dispose of ALL food that has come into contact with flood water. This includes tins as they may be contaminated with sewage or chemicals left from the flood water.
- Do not refreeze food which has been thawed out. Throw away any defrosted food.
- Remember - for insurance purposes, keep a list of all food that you throw away.
- If you feel unwell, go immediately to your doctor. Tell him that your home was flooded.
- Any dust from drying out should be continuously vacuumed up.
- It is advisable that young children should not play directly on wooden floorboards, damaged tiled floors and affected grassed or paved areas until they have been thoroughly dried out.
- Don't eat garden or allotment produce that has been in contact with flood water.
- Any areas showing signs of mould should be treated with a fungicidal solution.
- Seek advice from your insurance company about any repair/replacement work you think is necessary.
The information on this page is also available as a printed reference leaflet, called Flooding Advice for Householders. If you would like a copy please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and address or alternatively you can download a copy below.
If you are unable to view documents of these types, our downloads page provides links to viewing software.
This page was last updated on 11 November 2019