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Severe flood warning: severe flooding, danger to life is expected.
Flood warning: flooding is expected, take action to prepare yourself.
Flood alert: flooding is possible so be prepared.

After a flood

Once it's safe, you'll want to return home and deal with the effects of the flood.

Who to contact after a flood

It's important you stay in contact with the right people after a flood.

  • Phone your insurance company as soon as possible.
  • If you don't have insurance, there are some other people who may be able to help. View flooding support
  • Call your friends, family and neighbours for support.
 Ring 999 if there's danger to life

How to dispose of sandbags after a flood

Used sand and bags usually retain contaminants such as sewage and oils when they come into contact with floodwater.

  • Make sure you wear gloves and wash your hands thoroughly after handling.
  • If sandbags have been in contact with floodwater, you can't place them in your household waste. You'll need to take them to the tip. Find your local rubbish tip and recycling centre
  • If your sandbags haven't been in contact with floodwater, you can put them in your dark green bin.
  • Don't allow children to play with sand or place it in sand pits due to the risks from possible contamination. 

How to store and re-use sandbags after a flood

Sandbags can be stored for re-use if they haven't been contaminated by floodwater.

  • Wherever possible, store full bags that have not come into contact with floodwater in a dry shady place to use again.
  • Sacking material is normally biodegradable and will perish if left in place for a long time. It is therefore advisable to empty sacks and keep them dry for re-use and store the sand in your garden or yard for future use.

How to deal with your insurance after a flood

Here's how to deal with your insurance company after a flood.

  • Not sure what to expect from your insurance company? Read the Association of British Insurers' guide to what your insurance company should do after a flood
  • Contact your insurance company as soon as possible after a flood and follow their instructions.
  • Don't begin cleaning up and removing broken items from your home until your insurance company tells you it's ok to do so.
  • Take pictures of any damage as your insurance company may want to see it later on.
  • Keep a list of all the food you have to throw away because of the flood and give the list to your insurance company.

How to get affordable insurance

If you don't have insurance a not-for-profit scheme called Flood Re will help people who live in flood risk areas get affordable home insurance.

How to use your gas and electric safely after a flood

Flooding can create an unsafe environment for your gas and electric.

  • Don't operate equipment which is still in water or while you're standing in water.
  • Make sure all electrical appliances are properly switched off and dry before you turn your electricity back on. 
  • If your fuse box or any of your plug sockets have been in floodwater, don't switch your electricity back on until it's been checked by an electrician. View a list of certified electricians
  • If your home doesn't have any power, contact Electricity North West 
  • If your gas meter or any gas appliance has been in floodwater, call British Gas before switching the gas back on or switching on any gas appliances. If you smell gas or suspect gas escape has occurred at any time, call British Gas immediately.
Ring British Gas on 0800 111 999

How to clean your home​ after a flood

Here's how to clean your home after a flood.

  • Remove all soft furnishing and fittings that are damaged beyond repair.
  • Wash all hard surfaces with hot soapy water.
  • Food preparation surfaces, such as kitchen worktops, storage cupboards, fridges and freezers should be washed with food-safe disinfectant.
  • Allow areas you've cleaned to dry naturally. This will help to destroy any germs left behind.
  • Leave the heating on, if possible, and open your windows as it will help with the drying process.
  • If you don't feel safe cleaning up alone, you can hire professional cleaners to help.
  • Wash clothes, bedding and toys that have been in contact with floodwater at 60oC.
  • Soft fabrics and furnishings that can't fit or can't go in the washing machine need to be professionally cleaned. If it's not possible, you need to throw the items away.

How to use your home again after a flood

Moving back to your home or living in your home again after a flood can be a difficult time.

  • We recommended you don't use rooms that have been flooded until they've been cleaned and dried.
  • Try and have the heating on at all times.
  • If you rent your home, your landlord is usually responsible for repairs. More information about repairs to rented homes
  • Using a dehumidifier can make sitting in a wet or damp room more comfortable, but we recommend not living in rooms that haven't yet dried.

How to deal with health concerns after a flood

Floodwater may contain sewage, animal waste and other contaminants. Whilst floodwater presents a low risk to health, the biggest health hazard caused by a flood comes from the stress and strain of the event itself.

  • Social and psychological support after an emergency
  • Cover open cuts and wounds on exposed skin with waterproof plasters.
  • You should attend any scheduled medical appointments unless advised otherwise.
  • If you feel unwell, go to your doctor's immediately. Tell them your home was flooded.
  • If you do have any non-urgent health concerns, you can call 111.
  • You should only attend Accident and Emergency if it's a life threatening emergency.

How to prepare food and drink after a flood

Before you make food in a house that's been flooded, you should make sure it's safe to do so.

  • If your kitchen worktops show signs of flood damage, don't use them.
  • Clean all crockery, pots and pans with hot soapy water before you use them. You can use disinfectant to clean them. Chipped or damaged items should be thrown away
  • Clean and disinfect water taps before you use them. Make sure United Utilities have given the go ahead that the water is safe to use.
  • Throw away all food and drink that's come into contact with floodwater. This includes canned and bottled drinks, such as wine, spirits, beer and soft drinks.
  • Don't refreeze food that's thawed.
  • Any opened packages not in air-tight containers should be thrown away even if they haven't been in contact with floodwater as they're likely to have become damp.