Flood guidance

19 September 2018

Preparation and damage limitation.

Water splash

The risk of flooding

Since the 1980s, average rainfall has increased 6-8%2, making flooding a risk which is likely to become more frequent. The annual cost of flood damage in the UK is estimated to be in excess of £1billion1. Being prepared can help you to limit damage to your property.

Checking your risk of flood

Around 5.2million properties are in flood risk areas in the UK3. You can check to see if your local area is at risk of flooding by visiting the websites below.

Monitoring flooding in your area

For times when flood risk is imminent, there are several ways you can monitor the severity of risk 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 – NOAA Weather Radar and Alerts is a popular app that gives severe weather warnings. 

Preparing for 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 accessible. These will all be useful if flood waters do start to rise close to your property.
Have a contingency plan
A contingency plan should outline what you need to do in the event of a major incident such as a flood. Keep emergency telephone numbers and your insurance documents to hand so you can let essential people know straight away.

Flood-proofing your property

There are several ways you can protect your property against flooding:
 
  • 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 in conjunction with plastic sheeting to create a flood barrier.
  • Airbrick covers
    One of the first points of entry of floodwater into a property is via airbrick vents. A plastic cover can be clipped to framework surrounding airbricks to prevent the entry of water.
  • Non-return valves 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 evacuation 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 possessions, sentimental and irreplaceable 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 if you know there is a threat of flooding. 
Remember, if you have a basement that 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, inundating the room.
 
For more information on flood resilience and planning, we have created detailed flood guidance below.
1https://www.abi.org.uk/news/news-articles/2017/12/dont-get-caught-out-by-festive-flooding-insurers-stand-ready-throughout-the-christmas-period/ 
2https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmenvfru/115/115.pdf - page 21 
3https://floodsdestroy.campaign.gov.uk/