Here’s what you should do if you think your property might be at risk of flooding.

Gather Information

  • What kind of flooding is likely to affect your property? Will it be from a river, or overflowing drains, or high groundwater levels? (This matters because both surface water and groundwater flooding can occur very quickly, which gives little or no time to move irreplaceable or valuable items). How deep might the floodwaters be?


  • To help answer these questions, flood risk maps have been developed by the Environment Agency (for England and Wales) and SEPA (Scotland) and are available here:



  • At the present time there is no publically available mapping of groundwater flood risk for England and Wales.


  • Is a flood warning service available for your area? Have you signed up for it and, if so, are your contact details up to date? Is there a volunteer flood warden for your area?
  • If you are at high risk of any kind of flooding consider installing flood protection – request an independent flood defence survey
  • Prepare an Emergency Contacts List, including telephone numbers for relatives/friends as well as your insurance company, GP, and local kennels/catteries or equivalents if you have pets.


Get Prepared

  • Insurance is a very important step in protecting your property, but make sure you review your building and contents policies each year, to make sure that you have enough cover. Make photocopies of all insurance details (including motor policies) to include in your emergency plan.
  • Taking photographs of individual rooms and any high value items (inside and outside) is time well spent – after a flood it can be very difficult to remember all the items that may been damaged or destroyed.
  • Since you will have to turn off electricity in the case of a flood, make sure you have torches, candles and a battery or wind-up radio upstairs.


Get a Plan

  • Sit down with everyone in your household (including children) and write out a plan – this helps everyone to understand what needs to be done when a flood warning is received, or if the Met Office issues an Amber or Red warning of high rainfall for your area. Include step-by-step actions, for instance:


  1. “As soon as flooding is forecast, put mobile phone(s) on to charge upstairs, just in case the electricity goes off later.”


  1. “Move car(s) to higher ground such as …….. ” (include suitable road names, or parking areas, so everyone knows where to find them later).


  1. “Put flood-panels in place at front and back doors, and over air-bricks ….” (and so on)

You could also Make a Plan using the Environment Agency’s Template.

Grab a Bag

In case you have to leave quickly, either in a flood or any other kind of emergency,

having a ‘Grab Bag’ packed and ready to go will save valuable time. Keep this upstairs.


Important things to include are:

  • Copies of insurance documents and the photographs as suggested in ‘Get prepared’ (above)
  • A few days’ supply of any essential medicines/nappies/sanitary items
  • Small amount of cash
  • First aid kit, including anti-bacterial hand gel
  • Spare keys for house/car/garage
  • Torches (preferably LED type)
  • Spare clothing for each family member
  • Supply of long-life food items for babies and any pets
  • Passports


More help to prepare can be found here:

Planning for emergencies

Find out if you’re at risk

Environment Agency Interactive Maps

Emergency Grab Bag Checklist

Planning for emergencies designed especially for children

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