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What to do in the event of a flood?

A flood is coming! What do I do?

Download Leaflet - In the event of a flood (154 kbs)

If you think that a flood is coming, don’t panic! Check your Family Flood Plan to make sure you know what needs to be done.

The actions that can be undertaken immediately prior to a flood to reduce damages and keep you and your family safe are outlined below.


Inside your house

  • Move valuables and other items to safety. Place them above the flood level or upstairs. (It may be preferable to routinely store such items safely upstairs or on high shelves).
  • Roll up carpets and rugs and place them out of harm’s way.
  • Empty furniture that cannot be moved and put the contents upstairs.
  • Raise furniture that cannot be moved elsewhere on bricks or blocks. Move these pieces away from walls to assist the drying later. If pieces are too difficult to lift weigh them down with a heavy object to prevent them floating and causing damage to windows, etc.
  • Remove curtains if there is time, if not tie them over the curtain rail.
  • Remove cabinet doors and internal doors if time allows, if not leave them open.
  • Put sandbags at any openings where the water could gain access.
  • Turn off gas and electricity.
  • Disconnect cookers, washing machines, dishwashers, etc., connected by ridged pipes to prevent damaging the machine and the pipes.
  • Store any electrical items upstairs or above flood level.
  • Be prepared to evacuate your home or business. Protect yourself, your family and others that need your help.
  • Have warm clothing and Wellingtons ready.
  • Have medication to hand (if needed).
  • Check water/food stocks.
  • Co-operate with emergency services and local authorities. You may be evacuated to emergency centres.

Outside your house

  • Move your car to high ground if possible.
  • Move any items kept outside such as garden furniture to higher ground. Remember that floodwater could get into your garage so move any chemicals or fuel to ensure that they do not spill into the floodwater and cause damage.
  • Weigh down any manhole covers with sandbags or heavy objects. These could open during a flood and cause a hazard.
  • Close off the flow valves on propane tanks, oil drums, or other fuel containers that supply your home through pipes and fittings.
  • Unplug any exterior electrical connections such as outdoor lighting, pond pumps and filters.
  • Turn off the water supply to the garden.
  • Tie in climbing plants.
  • Check tree ties are secure on any newly planted trees.
  • Anchor fruit cages and coldframes against storm damage or dismantle them if time permits.
  • Take valuable or sentimental items and store them indoors or move them to higher ground.
  • Move treasured border plants to high beds, plant stands or heavy containers.
  • Empty petrol lawn mowers.
  • Lock gardening tools away.
  • Use sandbags or floodboards on greenhouses and sheds.
  • Harvest any crops that can be ripened indoors, such as tomatoes.

Flooding facts

Floods are the most common and widespread of all natural disasters.