If your home or business is at risk of flooding, you should make sure you have your own personal flood plan. Flooding can become a serious problem faster than you'd think, so don't leave this until it actually happens as you will not have time.
The Environment Agency has a guide to help with preparing a personal flood plan.
There are some actions you can take now, to make sure you're ready for a future flood.
- Store important documents safely, either higher than the flood water or protect them in polythene.
- Plan how you can stop flood water entering your property. Research different products on the National Flood Forum's Blue Pages. Don't just rely on sandbags as they aren't always available, or the most effective method.
- Check your insurance policy covers you for flooding.
- Familiarise yourself with flood warning levels, so that you understand an event as it is unfolding.
- Identify who can help you in the event of flooding - where you can go, or store possessions, when flooding is imminent. Similarly, identify who you can help - look out for your friends, family and neighbours, particularly those most vulnerable such as the elderly.
- If you have pets, find somewhere safe to take them before a flood.
- If you have a car, find somewhere safe to park it before a flood. If your car is already in flood water do not attempt to move it.
- Know where the stop-valves are for your water, gas and electricity so you can turn these off quickly if needed.
What to include in your flood kit
- Important documents, such as your passports and insurance certificates.
- A wind up torch and radio in case of a loss of power.
- Rubber gloves and wellington boots.
- A first aid kit including any prescription medicine.
- Bottled water - the water from the tap may become contaminated.
- Non-perishable or tinned food.
- Blankets and warm clothing, in case of a prolonged loss of power.
If your home is particularly at risk of flooding, it can be difficult to insure. The National Flood Forum can help you get insurance and reduce your premium or excess. The British Insurance Brokers' Association can help you find a broker that specialises in properties that are difficult to insure.
Your insurer may ask for an Insurance Related Request Letter, which you can get from the Environment Agency. Your insurance company will use this letter when deciding whether to insure your property and how much it will cost. This takes into account the likelihood of your property flooding, including the impact of any current or planned local flood defences.