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What to do if it floods

How you react will depend on the cause of the flood.

Flooding due to burst pipes or blocked drains

If you are affected by localised flooding caused by burst pipes or blocked drains you should contact the relevant authority.

Flooding due to heavy rain or rising rivers

If you are affected by flooding caused by severe weather conditions:

  • listen to weather reports and act on advice and instructions from the emergency services

  • be prepared to evacuate your property if necessary – gather essential items together and consider if you have family or friends you could stay with and who could look after your pets

  • put people before property – move your family and pets upstairs, or to a safe place with a means of escape

  • don't drink tap water unless you know it's not contaminated – prepare a supply of clean water by filling empty containers, e.g. jugs, saucepans

  • listen to local radio updates (ideally on a battery or wind-up radio) or call Floodline on 0845 988 1188

  • put plugs in sinks and baths and weigh them down with something heavy (e.g. sandbag, pillowcase or plastic bag filled with garden soil)

  • turn off water, gas and electricity supplies if it's safe to do so - DO NOT touch sources of electricity when standing in flood water

  • stay calm and reassure those around you – if you are in danger call 999

  • don’t go into flood waters alone – six inches of fast flowing water can knock you over, two feet of water will float a car, flooding can cause manhole covers to come off leaving hidden dangers.

Flood water is dangerous. Don’t drive through flood water or let children play in it. Wash your hands thoroughly if you touch flood water as it may be contaminated.

What to do after a flood

Before returning to your property:

  • find out if it’s safe to return – there may be structural damage or hidden damage if floodwater is still around

  • take photographs of any damage

  • ring your buildings and contents insurance company, or if you rent your property, contact your landlord and contents insurance company as soon as possible

  • when repairing your property, think about ways to protect your property from future flooding, or make it easier and cheaper to clean up if you are flooded again.

For general recovery advice, see recovering from emergencies on the London Prepared website.

Find out about emergency loans that may be available through Local Support Scheme.

Useful websites