How to deal with a flood

2. How to stay safe


  • Six inches of fast flowing water can knock you over and two feet of water can float your car.
  • Flooding can cause manhole covers to come off, leaving hidden dangers.
  • Don't: walk or drive through flood water, let children play in flood water, or walk on flood defences or riverbanks.
  • When water levels are high be aware that bridges may be dangerous to walk or drive over.
  • Culverts are dangerous when flooded.
  • Look out for other hazards such as fallen power lines and trees.
  • Wash your hands if you touch floodwater.

If you're about to be flooded

  • If you have a flood plan, put it into action.
  • Alert neighbours, especially if they are elderly or less mobile.
  • Block doors and air vents with plastic sheets and sandbags.
  • Fit any flood protection you might have.
  • Move electrical and valuable items to a higher level.
  • Bring pets inside.
  • Turn off gas, electricity and water supplies - store some drinking water.
  • Stay informed: listen to the local radio or contact the Environment Agency's Floodline.

If your property floods

  • Turn off gas, electricity and water at the mains.
  • Do not touch sources of electricity when standing in flood water.
  • Stay in your home if you can - move upstairs unless it is unsafe to do so.
  • If you decide to leave, try to stay with friends or family.
  • In extreme situations, district councils set up rest centres, rescue teams will be in touch with those affected. Make arrangements for your pets as rest centres usually only allow them for a short time.
  • Put safety first and heed advice from the police and the emergency services.

More information, is available in the National Flood Forum's 'Ready for Flooding' guide.

Print entire guide

Last updated: 12 March 2019

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