During a flood

Advice on what you should and shouldn't do in the event of a flood, or when a flood is expected.


  • Keep together and safe with your family and those around you. Consider any vulnerable or elderly neighbours and make sure they are aware of the situation.
  • Have an emergency 'grab bag' prepared.
  • Pay close attention to the advice of the emergency services and local authority. Take all warnings seriously and respond quickly.
  • Switch off all electrical and gas appliances at the mains - make sure you know how to do this quickly.
  • Stay alert, and monitor the ongoing situation.
  • Block downstairs toilets and drains to prevent back flow of sewage - use a sandbag or a strong bin bag filled with soil.
  • Move important items to a high and safe place within the home.


  • Don't enter flood water. Only six inches of fast flowing water can knock a person over and there may be unseen hazards - uncovered manholes, sharp edges and unstable surfaces may be hidden beneath the surface.
  • Don't drive through flood water. Less than two feet of water can be enough to float a car and beneath the water may be hidden hazards such as sudden drops, debris and fallen power lines.
  • Don't come into contact with flood water - it is often contaminated with sewage and other substances. Wear rubber gloves and boots, and wash thoroughly if you do accidentally come into contact with flood water.
  • Don't ever attempt to swim through flood water. You may be swept away and being a strong swimmer will not protect you from being struck by flowing debris.
  • Don't re-enter a flooded area until you are advised it is safe to do so.
  • Don't enter a property that has been flooded unless you are sure it is structurally safe - if in doubt it should be checked professionally.
  • Don't turn on your electricity or gas supplies until they have been checked by a qualified electrician/engineer. Be aware of gas leaks - do not smoke or use open flames.