Protect your property or business from flooding

What to do if you're about to be flooded

If your property is about to be flooded you should:

  • put a flood plan into action if you have one
  • alert neighbours, especially if they are elderly or less mobile
  • block doors and air vents with plastic sheets, sandbags or other flood resistant products you might have
  • move electrical and valuable items to a higher level
  • bring pets inside
  • turn off gas, electricity and water supplies at the mains - store some drinking water
  • make sure you stay informed - listen to the local radio or contact the Environment Agency's Floodline.

Make a flood plan

You can protect yourself from future flooding by planning how you'll respond to a flood.

A flood plan should include:

  • a list of things you should do, such as moving sentimental items to safety
  • space for you to note down important contact details such as your utility companies and insurance.

Visit the Environment Agency to download a download a personal flood plan.

Community flood plans

If you're involved in supporting communities or groups, you can improve their ability to plan for a flood by making a community flood plan.

Communities can play an essential role in:

  • helping to target action where it is most needed
  • setting up early warning systems and monitoring
  • implementing some solutions such as watercourse maintenance

Visit the Environment Agency to download a community flood plan.

Business flood plans

The Environment Agency has prepared a guide to help businesses prepare for flooding.

In the guide there are actions you can take to make sure your business is as well prepared as possible for flooding.

It also includes a simple template to use to design a flood plan for your company.

Use sandbags

Sandbags can be used to direct or restrict the flow of water.

You should be aware that sandbags do have downsides, for example:

  • they are heavy, and can therefore be difficult to handle
  • they retain sewage when they come into contact with floodwater
  • the bag material used is biodegradable and will disintegrate if left in contact with water for long periods of time

We do not provide sandbags, but you can buy them from most DIY stores.

The National Flood Forum recommends you use flood resistant products to help prevent water from entering the property.

If your property floods

In the event that your property floods, you should:

  • stay in your home if you can, and move upstairs unless it is unsafe to do so - but if you try to leave, stay with friends and family
  • make arrangements for your pets as rest centres usually only allow them for a short time
  • put safety first and listen to advice from the police and the emergency services

Stay safe

When flooding occurs, there can be many hidden dangers.

To make sure you stay safe during a flood, you should:

  • not walk or drive through flood water
  • not let children play in flood water
  • never touch sources of electricity when standing in flood water
  • not walk on flood defences or riverbanks
  • look out for hazards such as fallen power lines and trees
  • wash your hands if you touch flood water

Be aware

You should also be aware that:

  • just 6 inches of fast flowing water can knock you over and 2 feet of water can float your car
  • flooding can cause manhole covers to come off, leaving hidden dangers
  • when water levels are high bridges may be dangerous to walk or drive over
  • culverts are dangerous when flooded

See if there is a rest centre

In extreme situations, councils can set up rest centres - rescue teams will be in touch with those affected.

For more information see what do to if your property or business has been flooded.

Additional information is available on the National Flood Forum website.

Who to contact

There are different organisations you should contact in the event of flooding depending on the type of flood.

View contact details for who to contact in Buckinghamshire when there is a flood.

After a flood

See our guidance on what to do after a flood.