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're in a high-risk area and what preparation you can do to keep yourself, your home and your valuables safe.
How to prepare for flooding
1. Check if your area is at risk of flooding
Check if your home, or that of a friend, neighbour or family member, is located in a flood risk area by visiting the government's flood advice page or by calling the 24-hour Floodline on 0345 988 1188 – all you need is a postcode.
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.
2. Be prepared by making a flood plan
You can make a free flood plan with guidance from the Environment Agency. It could save you valuable time, prevent your 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)
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 consider raising electrical sockets and fitting water-resistant skirting boards.
For more tips, see the Environment Agency booklet Prepare your property for flooding.
3. Find out 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.
Advice for people experiencing flooding:
What to do during a flood (Gov.uk)
Flood warnings (Environment Agency website)
What to do after a flood (Public Health England website)
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 a flood, what to do during a flood and how to repair your home afterwards please visit the Environment Agency website or call Floodline on 0345 988 1188.
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