How to deal with a flood

5. After a flood


Stay safe

  • Find out if it is safe to return to your property.
  • There may be hidden dangers in the flood water like sharp objects, raised manhole covers and pollution.
  • Don't turn on your gas or electricity until systems have been checked by suppliers.
  • If your electricity supply is not already switched off at the mains, get a qualified person to do this. 
  • Throw away food that has been in contact with flood water.

Contact your insurer

  • Ring your insurance company as soon as possible.
  • In almost all cases the insurance company will send a loss adjuster. They will confirm what is covered by your policy. Ask if they will help pay for repairs that will reduce flood damage and reduce costs if it happens again.
  • Don't throw anything away until your insurers have inspected them.
  • If you do not have insurance, your local council should be able to provide information on grants or charities that may be able to help you.
  • The Association of British Insurers has a guide on what to do.

Clearing up 

  • Public Health England have guidelines about cleaning after a flood.
  • Flood water can contain sewage, chemicals and animal waste. 
  • If you have gas or oil central heating and it has been checked by an engineer, turn it on. Keep the thermostat between 20-22 degrees for steady drying.
  • You can get water out of your property using a pump and generator. Position the generator outside in the open air as generators produce carbon monoxide fumes which can kill.
  • You can clean and disinfect your property using ordinary household products.
  • Do not use high-pressure hoses as they blast contaminated matter into the air.
  • If using dehumidifiers, close external doors and windows.
  • Skips and extra rubbish collections may be provided for items that your insurance company has agreed you can throw away.
  • Get advice on repair work only from registered tradesmen.

Get support

  • Being flooded is stressful and traumatic; Public Health England has more information about the mental health impact.
  • Contact the National Flood Forum for advice and support from those who have suffered flooding.
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Last updated: 12 March 2019

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