Flood advice

What to do in a flood

Six inches of fast-flowing water can knock over an adult and two feet of water can move a car.

In the event of a flood focus on safety for yourself and your family, and be prepared to act quickly.

Always cooperate with the emergency services if they tell you to evacuate during flooding.

Follow these simple steps to stay safe during a flood

  • Check in with other people in your household. If they are not at home make sure they are somewhere safe.
  • Gather essential items together, either upstairs or to a high place.
  • Move your family and pets upstairs, or to a high place with a means of escape.
  • Turn off gas, electricity and water supplies when flood water is about to enter your home if safe to do so.
  • Do not touch sources of electricity when standing in flood water.
  • Keep listening to local radio for updates.
  • Flood water can rise quickly, stay calm and reassure those around you.
  • Call 999 if you are in immediate danger.

If possible

  • Avoid walking or driving through it
  • Check with vulnerable neighbours or relatives to ensure they are safe. If they are in danger, contact the emergency services
  • Stop water entering your home by plugging sinks and baths. Weigh them down with a sandbag, a pillowcase or plastic bag filled with garden soil, or a heavy object
  • If you DO NOT have non-return valves fitted, disconnect any equipment that uses water (like washing machines and dishwashers).

Remember to

  • Stay safe and listen to the advice of the emergency services and evacuate when told to do so.
  • Leave your home if the emergency services say so. Refusing to leave on their advice will put you, your family and those trying to help you at risk.
  • When you are evacuated you will be taken to an evacuation centre run by your local council. Free food and bedding is provided. Bring spare clothing, essential medication and baby care items if you have an infant.
  • Most evacuation centres will let you bring your pets. Take their food. Put cats and small animals in a pet carrier or secure box.
  • People running the centres are trained to give you support and advice. They will help you through the stress of a flood and prepare you for what to do afterwards.

Responsibilities of flooding

Main River: Environment Agency,
Ordinary Watercourse: LLFA,
Riparian Maintenance: Landowner,
Groundwater: LLFA.
Gully: Highways Authority, Sewer: Sewerage company

Who is responsible for flooding when it occurs?

  • Main river: Environment Agency (EA)
  • Ordinary watercourse: Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA), part of the Council's infrastructure team
  • Riparian maintenance: Landowner ('riparian' means relating to the banks of a river)
  • Groundwater: LLFA
  • Gully: Highways Authority
  • Sewer: Sewerage Company

  • Is it a sewer issue? Sewerage company
  • Is the gully blocked? Highways Authority
  • Is it a surface water low point? LLFA
  • Has the river backed up? EA or LLFA
  • Is the river tidally influenced? EA
  • Is the outfall blocked? EA or LLFA
  • Is there a sewer capacity issue? Sewerage company
  • Exceeding standard of protection? Asset Owner
  • Is there a riparian maintenance issue? Landowner

Flooding issues that are the responsibility of the LLFA or Highways Authority can be reported using the Council's Report Flooding Form.

Sewerage issues can be reported to Thames Water