Preparing for floods and flooding

Millions of people live and work in areas at risk from flooding.

Use the information provided below to keep you and your family safe during and after floods.

Before a flood

  • Check for local warnings. You can get updates from radio and TV news. 
  • Prepare an emergency kit (detailed below)
  • When a flood strikes, sandbags, and sand from builders’ merchants will be in high demand. They can be used as a barrier to divert water and prevent or reduce floodwater damage. Buy sand and sandbags in advance.
  • Move vehicles to higher ground but keep them accessible in case you need to bugout.
  • Turn off the mains power before at the breaker to avoid the risk of electrocution.
  • Block your toilets with sandbags to prevent backflow (sewage coming up through your toilet)
  • Shut and lock all your windows and doors.
  • Move any food and clean water supplies to the highest point in your house.
  • Check you have a good supply of blankets, clothes, and candles.
  • Ensure you have some kind of signaling device. Flares, whistle, flashlight or signaling mirror, etc. You may need to be airlifted out.
  • Designate an upstairs room in the house that has a large enough window to climb out of. You don't want to be trapped in a room with no exit.
  • Try to sandbag any doors that lead to the outside, do not sandbag internal rooms.

During a flood

  • Move you and your family to your designated room. Your food, water, and other supplies should already be in here at this point.
  • Don't attempt to walk, swim or drive through floodwater. 
  • Six inches of fast-flowing water can knock you over. Two feet of water can float a car.
  • Avoid contact with floodwater. It may be contaminated with sewage. 
  • Keep your children away from any floodwater or flooded areas.
  • Add  Airbrick seals or vent covers to any low lying vents (Great suggestion from one of our followings. Thanks John Bell)

After floods

  • Dispose of any food that may have been in floodwater, it could be contaminated.
  • Boil tap water or use bottled water until supplies are declared safe. 
  • Turn on your wind-up radio and listen for any government broadcasts and local advice

Have the right kit in an emergency.

Here is a list of what we recommend you have at your disposal.

Home kit

  • A laminated list of emergency contact numbers.
  • A battery-operated torch and spare batteries, or a wind-up torch.
  • Battery-operated radio and spare batteries, or wind-up radio.
  • Any essential medication and a first aid kit.
  • Three days’ supply of bottled water and ready-to-eat food that won’t go off. (MRE)
  • Copies of important documents, such as insurance policies and birth certificates. Keep these in a waterproof bag.
  • Baby and pet supplies if needed.

On the go kit

  • Check the weather forecast and pack suitable clothes.
  • Ready-to-eat food, a warm drink in a flask and bottled water.
  • Mobile phone and charger.
  • Any essential medication.
  • Cash and credit cards.
  • A laminated list of emergency contact numbers. 
  • Baby and pet supplies if needed.

Car kit

  • Ice scraper and de-icer.
  • Snow shovel.
  • A map in case you need to find your way around diversions.
  • Blanket and warm clothes.
  • First aid kit.
  • Battery-operated torch and spare batteries, or a wind-up torch.
  • Battery-operated radio and spare batteries, or wind-up radio.
  • Jump leads.

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.

Let us know if we missed something. What else would you add?

Stay safe.

Author: Paul

Paul has had an interest in the outdoors since he was a young kid. Walking, tracking and exploring the wilderness around him, from disused overgrown railway lines to the vast wilderness of the UK national parks. Over the last few years Paul has honed his skills into specific areas of bushcraft and survival. He is an expert in map reading, shelter building and knots, traps and fishing.


Be the first to comment on this story!
Thank you for joining the conversation. All comments are moderated before publication, so it might be a few hours before your reply appears here.

Leave your comment