Flood guidance

15 February 2023

How to prepare your home for a flood and limit damage.

Riverside buildings flooded

Checking your risk of flood

You can check to see if your local area is at risk of flooding by visiting the websites below.

Monitoring flooding in your area

If flood risk is likely, there are several ways you can check the situation in your local area:

  • Sign up to Flood Warnings Direct from EA to receive warnings by phone, text or email. SEPA and National Resources Wales offer similar alert systems.
  • Follow weather alerts on Twitter - @metofficeUK give live weather updates across the UK.
  • Get the app – National Weather Service (NOAA) Weather Radar and Alerts is a popular app that gives severe weather warnings. 
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Prepping your home for a flood

If you know that you are in a flood risk area, there are several ways you can prepare for flooding.

Work with your community

Visit the National Flood Forum website for useful information including a directory of flood-related products. They work with flood action groups to support communities and households who are at risk of flooding.

Store essential flood equipment

It’s good to keep essentials handy at all times. Keep buckets, sandbags, spades, wellies, bottled water, gloves and other protective clothing somewhere easy to access. These will all be useful if flood waters do start to rise close to your home.

Have a plan

A plan should outline what you need to do in the event of a flood. Keep emergency phone numbers and your insurance details to hand so you can let people know straight away.

Flood-proofing your home

It’s impossible to completely flood-proof your home but there are several ways you can limit damage.
  • Flood barriers
    Flood barriers are boards that can be installed across doorways and windows ahead of the arrival of flood water. These usually slide into a frame pre-attached to the building structure to provide a watertight seal. 
  • Sandbags
    Used with plastic sheeting to create a flood barrier.
  • Airbrick covers
    One of the first points of entry for water into a property is via airbrick vents. A plastic cover can be clipped to airbricks to prevent the water getting in.
  • Non-return valves Add these to drainage systems to prevent backflow of foul water into the property. 
  • Drainage gullies
    Installed around your property designed to capture surface water and divert it directly to drains. 
  • Landscaping
    This can be used to divert surface water away from a building. Care should be taken to ensure water is not diverted on to neighbouring property where it could cause damage.

What to do during a flood

  • Safety comes first, think about leaving before it is too late to move. 
  • If flood water is about to enter your property turn off the gas, electricity and water but never touch sources of electricity when there is standing flood water.
  • Move valuable items to safety, if you can, move them to upper floors. 
  • Take as much furniture as you can to upper floors, if you can’t move them lift them on to blocks or bricks to minimise the damage. 
  • Think about moving cars to higher ground. 
Remember, if you have a basement, it will be the first area to flood. Flash flooding, especially from a build-up of surface water is a real threat to properties with basement rooms. The water can pour in off the pavement quickly, filling the room.
For more information on planning for flood, we have created detailed flood guidance below.