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What to do in a flood

What to do in a flood
We show you how to protect your home, belongings and family from the threat of floods. This includes making a flood plan and dealing with post-flood damage.
This year we’ve been reminded of the damage stormy weather can do, with Storm Emma bringing up to 95mph winds and flooding in parts of the UK.
While your buildings and contents insurance covers you if the worst does happen, minimising the risk of damage is always a good idea, so be prepared with our step-by-step guide to flooding.
Be prepared
  1. Create your personal flood plan (you can use this online template). This includes general contacts for your utilities and local council, plus the location of shut-off points for your gas, water and electricity and a list of valuables to move in advance.
  2. Put together a flood kit including a torch, mobile phone, warm waterproof clothing, water, food, any necessary medication, rubber gloves and wellies.
  3. Be aware that phone lines can come down, leaving you without an internet connection, so it’s a good idea to have important information written down Make a note of someone you can turn to for help and their contact information.
  4. Make sure your mobile phone is fully charged, and avoid using unnecessary apps that could drain the battery.
  5. Get sandbags from your council, which can be used to block doorways, drains and other openings. Find out how to source and use sandbags properly here
  6. If you have a disability, contact your local council to arrange for extra support if flooding occurs.
Flood approaching
  1. Move as much furniture and electrical items upstairs as you can, covering any large items with plastic sheeting or bags.
  2. Don’t forget to seal any important documents, such as passports, mortgage agreements, home and car insurance documents and birth certificates in plastic folders or bags and move them to safety.
  3. Roll up carpets and rugs and take down curtains, or hook them over the curtain rail.
  4. Turn off your water, gas and electricity supplies.
  5. Barricade your home’s entrances with sandbags and boards.
  6. Move your car to higher ground.
During the flood
  1. It’s time to put your plan into action – collect your flood kit and move your family upstairs.
  2. Stay up-to-date with developments by listening to the local radio.
  3. Do not touch any floodwater as it may be contaminated by sewage water. If you do touch it be sure to wash and disinfect your hands thoroughly.
  4. If you need to be evacuated, contact the emergency services. If you are told to evacuate, you will be taken to a temporary rest centre, but if you decide to go to friends or family, make sure you tell your next of kin or a neighbour where you have gone.
After the flood
  1. If you have been evacuated, don’t return to your property until you have been told it’s safe to do so.
  2. If your home has been flooded, be sure to wear protective clothing and gloves while cleaning up.
  3. Get electric and gas supplies checked before you turn them back on.
  4. Wash walls and hard surfaces with hot water and detergent, then ventilate your rooms well.
  5. You can get any leftover water pumped out by your local fire and rescue service.
To find out if you may be at risk of flooding, visit:
England: Environment Agency
Scotland: Scottish Environment Protection Agency
Wales: Natural Resources Wales
Northern Ireland: Department of the Environment
Additionally, stay up-to-date with Met Office warnings in your area.
You may be surprised at the costs involved in replacing your household contents, so make sure you’re adequately covered. Find out about flood cover with buildings and contents insurance cover from UIA – the trusted insurance providers for Usdaw.

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