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What to do

During a flood

  • Listen to local radio for updates and advice.
  • Avoid contact with flood water as much as possible it may be contaminated with sewage or other pollutants.
  • Keep electrical cables out of water, and wear rubber boots to avoid electric shocks
  • Wash any cuts and grazes and cover with a waterproof plaster.
  • Keep a list of emergency numbers
  • If the emergency services tell you to evacuate, follow their instructions
  • Use a mobile phone as landlines may be affected by floodwater
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  • Try to avoid walking through floodwater. Six inches of fast flowing water is enough to knock over an adult. Manhole covers may have been lifted off and there may be other hazards hidden under the water
  • Don’t walk along riverbanks or cross river bridges in flood conditions, they may collapse
  • Don’t let children play in floodwater, this is dangerous
  • Avoid travel if possible, but if you must drive slowly and cautiously. Floods can turn a usually quiet road into a potential hazard. Don’t drive down closed roads
  • Aquaplaning is much more likely during flood conditions
  • Don’t drive through water if you can’t tell how deep it is. Two feet of water is enough to float a car
  • Drive considerately, the bow wave from your car could flood nearby homes
  • 80% of flood related deaths are in a vehicle. If your car stalls in water, do not attempt to recover it. Leave it and move your self and any passengers to safer ground
  • If you do have to travel, let someone know about your travel plans
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After a flood

  • Ensure all power and gas supplies are checked by a professional before turning them back on
  • Check with water supplier that it is safe to use water
  • Disinfect and clean taps, ensure you run them before using any water
  • Any electrical/gas appliance that has been in contact with flood water should be checked by a qualified engineer
  • Keep a photographic record of any flood damage
  • Contact your insurance company’s emergency helpline as soon as you can. If you have to pay for immediate help or emergency plumbing etc, keep a receipt for any work done
  • Your insurers will usually arrange for a loss adjuster and other specialists to visit your home to assess the damage, and they should manage most of the clear up. Speak to them before you start
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The floodwater affecting your home may have been contaminated with sewage or other pollutants. So take precautions to avoid skin contact with floodwater such as waterproof clothing, rubber boots and gloves.

  • Remove all dirty water and silt from the property as much as possible, including the space under downstairs floorboards. This may require pumping out
  • Good ventilation and a constant temperature will aid the drying process
  • Wash down all hard surfaces with hot soapy water several times until visually clean
  • Use a domestic disinfectant, following manufacturers’ directions, to wash over all hard surfaces after cleaning
  • Remove all soft furnishings and fittings that are damaged beyond repair
  • Clothing, bedding and other soft fabric items including children’s toys should be washed on a hot wash 60 degrees and above to destroy any germs present. Other items that cannot be put in the washing machine will need to be professionally cleaned or if this is not possible they may have to be disposed of
  • Throw away any food that has been in contact with floodwater and any food that has been in a fridge or freezer should also be disposed of if the power has been off
  • Food preparation surface, storage cupboards and fridges etc should be washed and disinfected with a food safe disinfectant such as Milton, Dettox etc
  • Allow to thoroughly dry, this will also help destroy any germs left behind
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Last updated: 13 December 2016 | Last reviewed: 13 December 2016