Here's what you can do to prepare for flooding.
Flood preparation guide
If you'd like to download the information on this page to keep with you, our flooding preparation guide has similar information on preparing for a flood, including a flood plan template.
How to get sandbags before a flood
We're not required to provide sandbags so we don't normally supply them to members of the public or businesses for their own use. But you can buy unfilled sandbags and a supply of sand from most DIY stores and builders merchants.
However, sandbags aren't as effective as other flood protection products. Sandbags take a long time to fill, are heavy and are difficult to place in water. We recommend you use other flood protection products instead, such as flood sacks and flood boards. These alternatives can also be bought from most DIY stores and builders merchants.
Before a flood has been forecast
You should do what you can now to prepare for a flood, especially if you live in a flood risk area. Don't wait until a flood happens, you may not have time.
Check if your home is at risk of flooding
Sign up for flood warnings from rivers and water courses
Follow Met Office weather reports on social media or email reports
- Find out where and how to turn off your gas, electricity and water supplies.
Check your home insurance policy and ensure you're covered for flooding.
The National Flood Forum can advise you about flood insurance
Make a list of useful information and telephone numbers, including your GP details, your insurance company's emergency phone line, your insurance policy number and the names of any prescriptions or medication you have.
Make a personal flood plan.
View a personal flood plan template
- Prepare an emergency grab bag, in case you need to leave your home in a hurry. Store it upstairs and include items such as essential documents, phone chargers, a change of clothes, non-perishable food, water, torch, glasses and cash. If you've a baby, also include nappies and baby food.
When a flood has been forecast
If there's a flood warning or flood alert for your area, here's what you can do to prepare.
How to prepare people and pets before a flood
To make sure you, your pets and your family and friends are better protected, you can:
- Listen to your local radio and TV weather forecasts and for advice from the emergency services.
See a list of local and regional radio stations covering the borough
- Check on your neighbours living nearby, especially vulnerable or elderly people on your street.
- Store food and water upstairs or as high as possible.
- Fill jugs and saucepans with clean water in case you have to turn the water mains off.
- Remember your prescriptions and move them as high as possible or keep them with you.
- Charge your mobile phone fully.
- Bring caged outdoor pets inside and move all pets along with their food, water, bedding and litter trays upstairs or as high as possible.
How to prepare your property and furniture before a flood
To prepare your property and furniture when a flood has been forecast, you can:
- Roll up carpets and rugs and move them upstairs or as high as possible.
- Empty furniture drawers and low cupboards.
- Take furniture upstairs, if possible.
- Weigh down furniture which is too heavy to move to stop it from floating away and damaging walls and windows.
- Fasten plastic bags around the legs of wooden furniture to help minimise absorption of water.
- Take down curtains or wrap them round the curtain pole.
- Store valuable or sentimental items and important documents upstairs or as high as possible.
- Use waterproof tape on cracks around external doors and gaps in bricks, but ensure your property is still ventilated.
- Contact your insurers. They'll advise you of any actions you need to take to keep your insurance valid.
- Take photos of your property and contents now, before any flood occurs.
How to prepare your gas and electric before a flood
How to prepare your gas and electric when a flood has been forecast.
- Move computers and other electrical equipment upstairs or as high as possible.
- Turn off mains gas and electricity.
- Unplug electrical appliances.
How to prepare your drains and water supply before a flood
To prepare your drains and water supply for a flood, you can:
- Clear house gullies and drains of debris and leaves to help floodwater drain away.
- Put plugs in sinks and baths and weigh them down with something heavy.
- Turn off water if you're advised to do so by the authorities.