Flooding - be prepared

Flooding is devastating and it poses a risk to life, property and vehicles and can force people out of their homes. The Environment Agency explains how you can find out if you are in a high-risk area and what preparation you can do to keep yourself, your home and your valuables safe.

More than 5 million people in England and Wales live and work in buildings at risk of flooding from rivers or the sea. 2012 was the second wettest on record, so we need to be better prepared for bad weather.

Check if your area is at risk of flooding

There are steps everyone can take to help prepare that can make a big difference. You can check if your home, or that of a friend, neighbour or family member, is located in a flood risk area by visiting The Environment Agency flooding page or by calling their 24-hour Floodline on 0845 988 1188 – all you need is a postcode.

If you are at risk then you can sign up for free flood warnings and The Environment Agency will let you know if a flood is likely in your area by phone, text or email.

There are 3 different levels of flood warnings

Flood alert means you need to prepare
Flood warning means you should take action
Severe flood warning means there is danger to life.

Be prepared by making a flood plan

If you live in a flood risk area, you can complete a free personal flood plan. It only takes a few minutes and doing this in advance will save you valuable time, prevent your treasured belongings from being damaged and reduce the impact of flooding on your home.

There are many simple tasks you can do in advance, such as

storing valuable items upstairs or, if you live in a bungalow, as high up as possible
finding out how to turn off your gas and electricity supply
preparing a flood kit that you can easily reach

Your flood kit should include

a torch, blanket, warm clothes, waterproofs and portable radio
first aid kit
list of useful telephone numbers and insurance details
food and bottled water
portable carrier (if you have a pet)

There are also some further practical steps that can be taken to help protect your home. Irreplaceable or valuable items should be kept on high-mounted shelves, equipment like your TV should ideally be fixed to the wall and you should buy large sealable bags for protecting items.

If you are getting some general repair work done to your home, then a wide range of other options should also be considered. For example, it’s a good idea to lay tiles with rugs, rather than fitted carpets, and to fit non-return valves to drains and your toilet.

Who can help?

It’s a good idea to consider who can help should your area be affected by flooding. Find out if there are flood wardens working in your area or if a community flood group has been set up.

Community based flood action groups work on behalf of the wider community to help them prepare for and take action during a flood. The National Flood Forum will be able to offer you further advice on this.

For more information on how to prepare for flood, what to do during a flood and how to repair your home afterwards please visit The Environment Agency website or call Floodline on 0845 988 1188.

The Environment Agency works with a wide range of groups to reduce the risk of flooding and its impact on people, households and businesses, and in the past 3 years new flood defence schemes have protected an additional 182,000 properties.

They are also working closely with councils, vulnerable groups and volunteer flood wardens to make people aware of what they can do to protect themselves and their communities and to build more flood defences.

Advice line:
08000 223 444

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