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How to prepare your home, business or farm for a flood

Find out if you're at risk 

Use our map to find out if your property is at risk from flooding.

Check flood warnings

Be aware of flooding in your area by keeping an eye on water levels and the weather forecast.

You can sign up online for free flood warnings

Or check our live flood map. We use three types of warnings.

These could give you time to protect your home and move livestock or machinery:

Flood alert

 flood alert symbol

This means flooding is possible. Be prepared.

  • Be prepared to act on your flood plan.
  • Prepare a flood kit of essential items.
  • Monitor local water levels and the flood forecast on our website.

Flood warning

flood warning symbol

This means flooding is expected. Immediate action required.

  • Move family, pets and valuables to a safe place.
  • Turn off gas, electricity and water supplies if it is safe to do so.
  • Put flood protection equipment in place.

Severe flood warning

This means severe flooding. Danger to life.

  • Stay in a safe place with a means of escape.
  • Be ready to leave your home.
  • Cooperate with the emergency services.
  • Call 999 if you are in immediate danger.

Flood plans

Start preparing before a flood happens. Download a flood plan template or use this checklist to write your own:

Know who to contact and how:

  • agree where you will go and how to contact each other
  • check with your council if pets are allowed at evacuation centres
  • keep a list with all your important contacts to hand

Keep personal items, like photo albums and treasured mementos in a safe place:

  • don't wait for a flood to move them because it might be too late and dangerous

Think about what you would need to move to safety during a flood:

  • your pets
  • cars
  • furniture
  • electrical equipment

Think about who you could ask for help, or could you offer help to vulnerable friends, family or neighbours?

Extra precautions for farms and agricultural land

Your land may be at risk of flooding even if your house is not. Make sure you have a flood plan and share it with all staff so they are familiar with it. Keep your plan somewhere safe and easily accessible.

Your flood plan should include all the above points and it should also consider:

  • identify fields at higher ground where livestock can be moved to safety
  • identify stock/machinery/tools that can easily be moved off the farm to prevent loss or damage
  • identify any chemicals/fuels on the farm that could contaminate flood water and think about how they could be moved to safety during a flood
  • consider how you will inform staff about an impending flood, and how staff may be able to help you prepare
  • draw up a contingency plan with suppliers to ensure business continuity to reduce loss of earnings
  • consider purchasing a stockpile of useful materials that can be used during a flood, i.e. sandbags to prevent water entering barns/sheds, plywood to board up windows and pallets to raise stock/equipment above flood water level

Top tips to reduce the likelihood of flooding on a farm:

  • consider creating run off ponds, or sediment traps on the farm to reduce the likelihood of flooding
  • avoid directing run off towards roads and watercourses
  • discharge roof water into swales and/or soakaways around the farm, to slow water down and recharge groundwater
  • loosen soil to leave a rough surface after harvesting to allow more water to soak in rather than run off land
  • remove stock when soils are wet in high-risk fields
  • use low-ground-pressure tyres to reduce soil compaction

Flood plan templates

Download, print and fill in your own flood plan template:

Personal flood plan for your home

Business flood plan for you and your staff

Community flood plan

Flood kit

Prepare a flood kit of essential items and keep it handy. This should include:

  • copies of your home insurance documents.
  • a list of important telephone numbers.
  • a torch with spare batteries.
  • a wind up battery radio
  • warm, waterproof clothing and blankets.
  • a first aid kit and prescription medication.
  • bottled water and non-perishable food.
  • baby food and baby care items.

Keep a list of important phone numbers in your flood kit, this should include:

  • Floodline 0345 988 1188
  • Local authority emergency helpline
  • insurance company 24-hour number and your policy number
  • local radio station frequency for news alerts and weather updates
  • family and neighbours
  • work phone numbers
  • doctor's surgery
  • local police station
  • vet/kennel/cattery
  • local hotel or B&B
  • gas supplier and meter number
  • electricity supplier and meter number
  • water supplier and meter number
  • electrician
  • plumber
  • builder

Insurance

  • Confirm you are covered for flooding.
  • Find out if the policy replaces new for old, and if it has a limit on repairs.
  • Don't underestimate the value of your contents.

The Flood Re scheme helps households in areas at risk of flooding find affordable home insurance - ask your existing insurer if your home is eligible.

Insurance Related Request (IRR)

Your insurance company may ask for an Insurance Related Request (IRR) to help them decide whether they will renew your housing insurance or give you a new quote. The IRR provides information about:

  • whether your property falls within or outside the area at risk of flooding
  • whether there are any defences in the area and the standard of protection that they provide
  • how likely flooding is, taking into account any risk management measure such as flood defence barriers in the area
  • whether there are any plans for flood risk management measures in the area

If you need a IRR, please contact our Customer Care Centre. You will need to tell us the full address of the property, a contact telephone number and, if possible, a map. The team will respond to you within 20 working days.

An IRR is free for the public but requests from commercial interests such as a solicitor or developer will cost £50 (plus VAT).

Flood protection equipment

Floodboards

These can be fixed to your doors and windows in preparation for a flood. They should then be removed and stored in an easily accessible place so you can use them again if needed.

Plastic covers to seal airbricks

These can stop flood water coming in through your airbricks.

Sandbags

Your local authority may have some sandbags ready to deploy at times of flooding, but their priority is to protect the public at large. You should check with your local authority in advance to find out what their policy is, and if there is a charge for the service.

If your local authority doesn’t supply sandbags, you can buy your own supply from DIY stores and builder’s merchants. Find more advice on sandbags and how to use them to prepare for a flood.

You can also make home improvements that will make it easier and cheaper to clean up after a flood.

Discuss these with your loss adjuster and builder:

  • lay ceramic tiles on your ground floor and use rugs instead of fitted carpets
  • raise the height of electrical sockets to at least 1.5 metres above the ground floor level
  • use lime plaster instead of gypsum on walls
  • fit stainless steel or plastic kitchens instead of chipboard ones, or have freestanding units you can move
  • position any main parts of a heating or ventilation system, like a boiler, upstairs or raised well above the ground floor
  • fit non-return valves to all drains and water inlet pipes
  • replace wooden window frames and doors with synthetic ones because they are easier to clear

What to do during and after a flood

Find out what to do during and after a flood.

More information and advice

All of our information about how to prepare for a flood is also available to print:

Details of other websites and organisations who can offer help and support:

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