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Flood emergencies - latest information

Information and contacts to help individuals and community groups in a flood situation.

Flood information

Insuring your property

Homes can be difficult to insure if they are in a flood prone area, or have flooded in the past. The Flood Re scheme may help if you are struggling to insure a property at risk of flooding.

The British Insurance Brokers' Association can help to find a broker specialising in difficult to insure properties. 

Your insurer may ask for an Insurance Related Request Letter, which you can get from the Environment Agency. This letter takes into account the chances of your property flooding and any local flood defences.

Protecting your home from floods

  • Keep a list of useful numbers to hand, the emergency services, your insurance company and Floodline 0345 988 1188.  

  • Have a few sandbags or floorboards prepared to block doorways and air bricks.

  • If your house is at serious risk of flooding there are a number of sites where you can get sandbags from. If you are unable to collect the sandbags yourself or are notifying us that there are no sandbags left at a particular location please call 01483 455091.

  • The National Flood Forum's 'Blue Pages' have products that are available to protect homes from flooding.

  • Check your drains regularly and avoid causing blockages.

  • If a flood is likely, move items to an upper floor, keeping valuables and important documents in polythene bags.

  • Move cars to high ground.

  • Talk about possible flooding with your family or those you live with. Consider writing a Flood Plan.

  • Make a 'flood kit' that includes

    • Important documents, such as your passports and insurance certificates.
    • A wind-up torch and radio, in case of loss of power.
    • Rubber gloves and wellington boots.
    • A first aid kit, including any prescription medicines you may need.
    • Bottled water - the supply from the tap may not be safe to drink during flooding.
    • Non-perishable, or tinned food.
    • Blankets and warm clothing, in case of a prolonged loss of power.

If a flood occurs

Do:

  • monitor all information, especially the Environment Agency Flood Warnings Service. Don't be complacent if conditions aren't initially as forecast, as the situation may quickly deteriorate.

  • look out for elderly neighbours, keep them updated and help them stay safe.

  • pay close attention to the advice of the emergency services and local authority. Take all warnings seriously, and act without delay.

  • switch off electrical and gas appliances at the mains - make sure you know how to do this in advance.

  • move important items to an upstairs room or a safe, high place on the ground floor.

Do not:

  • enter the flood water - only six inches of fast flowing water can knock you over. Hazards may be hidden beneath the water, such as uncovered manholes.

  • drive through flood water. Less than two feet can be enough to float a car, and hazards may be hidden under the water.

  • come into contact with flood water - it is often contaminated with sewage and pollution. Wear rubber gloves and boots, and wash thoroughly if you do come into contact with flood water.

  • try to swim in flood water. You may be swept away or hit by debris.

Stay safe after flooding

Before you clean up after a flood, speak to your insurance company who will advise you on how to make a claim.

Gas

Do not turn on your gas supply until it has been checked by a qualified technician. Gas leaks and damaged appliances are not only a fire hazard, they can also lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

For more information on checking for long term damage to gas appliances, see the Gas Safe Register website.

Electricity

If flood water has entered your home, switch off your electricity at the mains, if it is safe to do so. Do not touch electrical equipment, switches or sockets when standing in water, or if the equipment is wet, damp, or has been flooded and the power is on.

If your fuse or electricity fuse has been under water, please keep away from the equipment and call your Power Distributor. Surrey is covered by more than one distributor. If you're unsure of your distributor, please call 105.

Please note - your power distributor is responsible only for the incoming supply cable and the service 'cut out'. Your meter, and internal wiring, are the responsibility of your power provider (the company you pay your bills to).

Re-entering your home

Do not re-enter a flooded area until you have been advised it is safe to do so.

Flood water can be extremely damaging to buildings, so homes that have been flooded should be checked for damage.

Cleaning after a flood

If your property has been flooded, cleaning up afterwards will take time. Try to get help with this if possible.

While cleaning up:

  • wear protective clothing to avoid contact with harmful bacteria, and wash your hands thoroughly after cleaning.

  • take soft furnishing that need to be disposed of outside to prevent the spread of bacteria. All other soft items should be washed on a hot wash (60°C or above) or cleaned professionally.

  • hard surfaces should be washed thoroughly using a mild detergent or disinfectant

  • heating, dehumidifiers and good ventilation are all effective in drying out your home. Don't use petrol or diesel generators indoors, as the exhaust gasses contain carbon monoxide, which can kill.

  • If you have gas or oil central heating, keep the temperature between 20°C and 22°C for steady drying - only after your heating system has been checked by a qualified engineer. Any mould should disappear as your home dries out. If it persists, contact a specialist cleaner.

  • remove dirty water and silt from your property. If you have wooden floors the water may be below the floor and will need pumping out. Air bricks providing ventilation to under-floor spaces may also require unblocking.

  • your insurance company will usually cover the cost of removing damaged items. Keep a record of all damaged items, with pictures if possible, to help when making an insurance claim. Flood-damaged items such as carpets and furniture can be taken to any recycling centre in Surrey.

  • food and wooden kitchen utensils which have come into contact with flood water should be thrown away.

  • if you own a catering business, spoiled food supplies may be covered by your insurance.