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Preparing for a flood

Most of us think flooding is “something that happens to other people”, though the truth of the matter is it can happen to anyone, at any time.

Preparing for flooding is time well-spent, as it not only minimises the risk of flooding, but also helps you in the event of a flooding incident in or near your home.

Find out if your property is in a flood zone

First off, it’s important to understand the flood risk to your property. There are different types of flooding, mainly from rivers and surface water (flash flooding from intense rainfall).

Clear obstructions

Ensure your property is free from obstructions or blockages that may stop excess water draining / flowing away naturally. This will decrease the risk of flooding to your property or nearby properties if there is a flooding incident in the area.

Flood / weather warnings and alerts

You can sign up for flood / weather warning alerts in your area:

Follow this advice if you receive a flood warning or an alert.
You can also view the latest alerts online.

Flood insurance

It’s vitally important to insure your building and its contents from the impacts of flooding if you can. This will help reduce the financial impact of a flood, and also help with your recovery once flood waters have subsided.

If you are a tenant, you should have contents insurance to ensure you’re covered in the event of a flood. You do not need to worry about property insurance as your landlord will be responsible for insuring the building.

If you’ve ever been refused insurance on the grounds of flood risk, or if you live in a flood risk area, it’s worth searching for an insurer that specialises in flood risk insurance.

Protect your property

The best way to protect your property from the flooding is to install ‘property level protection’. These are systems that either:

  • Prevent flood waters from entering your property (flood proofing)
  • Are resistant to flooding and ensure recovery is quicker and easier (flood resilience).

The National Flood Forum website offers a guide to the potential cost and types of property level protection most suitable for your property.

The Blue Pages website has a comprehensive list of flood risk services, specialist contractors and suppliers of property level protection products.

Emergency flood plan, grab bag, checklist

Make your own personal flood plan for:

Have a grab bag of essential items ready in case you have to leave your home. Keep this in a safe place. The grab bag should include essential items such as medication, hearing aid, glasses, clothing, phone(s) and charger, torch, First Aid kit, toiletries and copies of important documents and contact details (insurance, etc).

Create a checklist of things to do to protect your family.

Helping your community

There are a number of things that you can do to help your community manage flood risk:

  • Establish warning systems - Establish a chain of contacts to alert neighbours when water levels are high.
  • Protect vulnerable people - Check on neighbours if bad weather means they can’t leave the house.
  • Provide evacuation support - Help vulnerable people get support from emergency organisations.
  • Support emergency centres - Run a safe area with water and toilet facilities so that people could be moved into basic facilities for a night or two.
  • Become a community flood warden.