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Flood Action – how to prepare for a flood

Being aware of the risks of flooding and how to prepare for them is becoming more important as the changing climate is likely to make flooding occur more frequently.

As part of Flood Action Week, here are some tips to make sure you’re prepared should there be a flood event.

Prepare in advance

Understanding your flood risk will help you to prepare and reduce the impact of a flood. Whether you rent or own your home or business, or if you’re looking to buy, check if you’re in an area at risk of flooding. You can do this by visiting the government website and entering the postcode and address of the property.

If the property is at risk of flooding from rivers or the sea, you can also sign up to flood alerts. Flooding from surface water however, is challenging to predict as rainfall location and volume are difficult to forecast, so checking your risk on the government website and creating a plan in advance is suggested. You should also make sure that your insurance covers any losses and repairs in the event of flooding.

Create a Flood Plan

It is always a good idea to create a household flood plan, even if you have never been flooded before. It ensures that when receiving a flood alert or warning you know what actions to take, you can deploy any temporary flood resistance measures efficiently, and you are best prepared to protect your property and belongings from the impacts of flooding. 

In addition to the steps to take during a flood, your plan may include things like emergency contacts and how to store important documents such as insurance, passports and birth certificates safely. Your plan can be stored in your Flood Kit so that it is easily accessible.

Prepare a Flood Kit

Just as you would pack a suitcase for going on holiday, preparing a flood kit means that if you find yourself in an emergency situation, you can easily grab what you need.

In your kit should be your plan for what to do in a flood, torch, warm and waterproof clothing, dry food and bottled water, medication, first aid kit, mobile phone chargers, important documents, spare keys, cash and cards and blankets.

You can find more information on flood kits, including a template flood plan, by visiting The Flood Hub.

Know your property 

Knowing where your gas and water pipes are, is helpful in an emergency. Find out how to turn them, and your electricity, off.

If you don’t already know, your supplier should be able to help you with this.

Reduce the impact on your home

By installing property flood resilience (PFR) measures to your home, whether to keep water out, help reduce damage or reduce surface water, there are different ways to help protect your property.

Some methods include:

  • Flood barriers or doors and entrances
  • Using non-return valves to outlet pipes
  • Water resistant materials, walls and floors (hard flooring)
  • Raising electrics and utilities
  • Re-pointing (of brick or stone work) and sealing gaps around pipes or cabling
  • Permeable paving
  • Water butts
  • Green roofs

Who to contact for advice

Environment Agency’s Floodline 0345 988 1188 can be used if you are unsure of the immediate risk to yourself or need flooding advice.

The council can also provide useful information about resources available.

To report flooding from the sea or rivers:

Call the Environment Agency, incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.

To report flooding from sewers or water mains:

For sewers call United Utilities emergencies or Dwr Cymru Welsh Water for Gayton and Heswall, or for a burst water main contact United Utilities.

To report flooding caused by a problem on the road:

Flooding due to heavy rain is not normally caused by blocked drains. It is normally due to the volume of water and will usually go away as the storm passes however for cases where this doesn’t happen, you can report this on the council’s website (call 0151 606 2004 if it is urgent).

Report flooding or a blocked drain or grid

Report a damaged drain, grid or manhole cover 

For assistance with flood damage call your insurance company as well as your landlord if you rent your property.

Always contact emergency services on 999 if there is a threat to life.