Be prepared

If your home or business is at risk of flooding, you should make sure you have your own personal flood plan. Flooding can become a serious problem faster than you'd think, so don't leave this until it actually happens as you will not have time. The Environment Agency have a guide to help with preparing a personal flood plan but below are a few important actions you can take now, to ensure you're ready for a flood in the future:

  • store important documents somewhere safe - preferably higher than the flood waters can reach but if this is not possible then protect them in polythene
  • look into the best ways to stop flood water from entering your property - don't just rely on sandbags, they may not always be available and there are plenty of flood protection products available which can protect your home much more effectively. A directory of these is provided by the National Flood Forum and can be viewed at
  • check that your insurance policy covers you for flooding
  • familiarise yourself with flood warning levels, so that you understand an event as it is unfolding
  • identify who can help you in the event of flooding - where you can go, or store possessions, when flooding is imminent. Similarly, identify who you can help - look out for your friends, family and neighbours, particularly those most vulnerable such as the elderly
  • if you have pets, identify somewhere safe you can take them before a flood
  • if you have a car, identify somewhere safe to move it to ahead of a flood - if this is not possible and your car is already in flood water do not attempt to move it
  • make sure you know where the stop-valves are for your water, gas and electricity supplies so that you can turn these off quickly if necessary
  • prepare a flood kit, ready to grab in the event of a flood

As mentioned above, you should consider preparing an emergency kit, filled with essential items you might need during a flood. Items you may wish to include are:

  • important documents, such as your passports and insurance certificates
  • wind up torch and radio in case of a loss of power
  • rubber gloves and wellington boots - incase you have to come into contact with flood water
  • a first aid kit - including any prescription medicine
  • bottled water - the water from the tap may become contaminated and certainly do not ever drink flood water
  • non-perishable and/or tinned food
  • blankets and warm clothing, in case of a prolonged loss of power
  • families with children may wish to include some toys - to keep them entertained and distracted.