The Environment Agency has produced a guide on what to do before, during and after a flood. It features advice such as how to check whether you are at risk of flooding, checklists to help you prepare and practical advice should flooding occur.
The live flood warning map shows the locations where Flood Alerts, Flood Warnings or Severe Flood Warnings are in force. The Environment Agency issues flood warnings when we expect flooding to occur.
The map is updated with information from our flood warning systems every 15 minutes. Click here to view the live flood warning map
If you are concerned about flooding in the near future you are advised to tune in to national and local radio, news and weather forecasts. Keeping informed about weather means you can act to protect yourself and your home or business from the effects of flooding (see 'Preparing for a flood' below).
The Environment Agency runs a "Floodline Warnings Direct" service to give advanced warning when flooding from rivers is likely to happen. You can sign up to this free service using the following contact details:
The Environment Agency has a service which allows the public to view data on river levels. Having up to date information on local water levels will help people living in flood risk areas be better informed about the situation and decide what actions to take as the water levels change. The data will complement personalised phone and text message alerts from the organisation's free flood warning service.
River and sea levels in England
You can also contact the Environment Agency Floodline on 0345 988 1188.
Preparing your home or business for a flood
Flooding can cause damage to your home and belongings or business. If you think your property is at risk of flooding or you are concerned about flooding you can reduce flood damage if you prepare a plan in advance.
Your plan could contain:
- Know who to contact and have a list of up to date numbers
- Think about what you can move to a safe place e.g. personal items; photo albums; family documents; treasured mementos; pets etc
- Check your household insurance and list their number in the contact list
- Know where to turn off your gas, electricity and water
- Prepare a grab bag which should contain: home insurance documents; torch with spare batteries; first aid kit and prescription medicines; bottled water; some tinned and dry food; baby food and baby care; money; mobile phones and chargers etc
- You can protect your property from flood water; there are many suitable products available on the market which can be used. If you are the home owner, it is your responsibility to protect your property; if you know you are at risk of flooding do it now before it is too late. If you are not the owner, speak to your landlord
In the event of a flood, focus on the safety of you and your family and in an emergency where your and/or someone else's safety is at risk, ring 999.
Follow these simple steps to stay safe:
- Check all people in your household are safe; if not at home make sure they are safe somewhere
- Gather essential items to a safe area, upstairs if possible
- Move family and pets upstairs or to a higher place with a means of escape
- Turn off gas, electricity and water supplies (Do not touch sources of electricity if you are standing in water)
- Keep listening to local radio, these stations will broadcast regular information
- If safe to do so check vulnerable neighbours or relatives
- Be aware of the dangers that flooding events can cause ,see section on General Safety
- Evacuate when told
There are various organisations that work together to respond to floods. The time it takes for organisations to respond could be affected by a number of factors:
- Rescue and assistance vehicles may have difficulty getting to you if roads are flooded or grid locked
- Many requests for help may be received at the same time, overwhelming available resources
- Authorities may receive little warning of flooding
Be aware that response and help may take time.
You need to assess the damage and consider the following:
- If you are insured, contact your insurer as soon as possible
- If you rent, contact your Landlord
- If you do not have insurance, your local council may able to give you information on hardship grants and charities that may be able to help
- The flood may have caused structural damage to your property
- Take care entering the area damaged by the flood as there may be hidden dangers such as sharp objects, raised manhole covers and pollution
- Flood waters can contain sewage, chemicals, animals waste etc
- Wear appropriate protection: waterproof outerwear; gloves; wellington boots; face mask
- Do not turn the electricity on until a qualified electrician confirms it is safe
- Ensure any motorised equipment, pumps or generators have adequate ventilation, as a build up of carbon monoxide from the exhaust gases can kill
- Ordinary household products can be used to clean and disinfect your property
- You can use a garden hose for washing down but don't use a pressure washer as it will blast contaminated matter into the air
Six inches of fast-flowing water can knock over an adult and two feet of water can move a car
(There were a number of fatalities in 2012 due to people believing their 4 by 4's can get through flood waters)
Avoid walking or driving through flood waters, there may be hidden dangers such as missing grid and manhole covers
Avoid contact with flood water as it may contain sewage, chemicals and water born diseases
Ensure general hygiene is maintained; thoroughly wash your hands if you touch the flood water