What should I do if my property is flooded?

Flood water is often dangerous, due to its speed, depth, hidden obstacles or contamination in the water.

The most important thing to do is to make sure that you and your family remain safe.

Either move to upper parts of your home and call for assistance, or leave the property by a safe, dry route. If anyone remains in the flooded property and the mains electricity supply was not turned off before the flood, do not touch any electrical appliances until you are told it is safe to do so and stay out of floodwater.

Other things to consider:

  • You should notify Stonewater and your contents insurance company that the property has been flooded.
  • Make sure that you let your family know where you are and that you are safe so they don’t worry. They may be able to help.
  • You may want to notify your employer what has happened as your activities are likely to be disrupted initially.
  • Do not return to your home until you are told it is safe to do so by the emergency services or Local Lead Flood Authority.

When returning to your property

Do not walk or drive through floodwater unless instructed by emergency services.

Stay out of water unless it is unavoidable. There are often hidden dangers below the surface which can entangle you and drag you under. Moving flood water is even more dangerous, even shallow depths can pull you over.

Do not turn on the mains services to your property. If these were turned off before you left your property, check with your utility service provider that it is safe to do so. They may need to inspect your property before you can safely turn on and use these services.

Wear suitable protective clothing (face mask and gloves as a minimum) and footwear. Flood water may contain harmful substances like sewage, chemicals and animal waste which could make you unwell. If you come into contact with flood water, wash your hands thoroughly.

Always have a means of communications. Make sure you have a working mobile phone with you so you can call for help.
As the electricity may remain turned off, you may have to rely on the phone, rather than your computer, to contact necessary organisations such as Stonewater or your contents insurer.

Take photos of everything that is damaged – furniture, carpets, curtains, and possessions. They may help as part of any insurance claim.

Find your local flood action group or flood warden. If there’s been a serious flood, your local authority may have chosen a place like the town hall as a ‘flood hub’ from which to organise recovery efforts. You may also have a nearby flood warden or flood action group.

You can find general advice about staying healthy after a flood at Public Health England.

You can get support from your local health protection team to prevent and reduce the effect of diseases.

Don’t eat food that’s touched flood water. If your electricity is off, don’t eat fresh food from a fridge after 4 hours or from a freezer after 24 hours. The Food Standards Agency offers detailed food safety advice for flood victims.