Jump to main content

Flood advice

Home » Safety and advice » Flood advice

This page contains a variety of advice on keeping safe during periods of flooding. Whilst some of the advice is aimed at children and young people all the advice is still applicable to help keep everyone safe. Please feel free to share the page, images or the full Flood Advice pdf.

Standing water

The dangers of flood water include:

  • It is very cold and often very deep.
  • There may be hidden currents and flow that will sweep you away.
  • It can be difficult to get out (steep banks).
  • There may be hidden rubbish, e.g. shopping trolleys, broken glass, lifted manhole covers and fences.
  • There are no lifeguards.
  • There will be holes and uneven ground.
  • It will be polluted and make you ill.

Swimming and playing

  • Don’t play in flood water.
  • Flood water is cold. Cold water shock affects your ability to breathe, your ability to swim, and leads to drowning. It can affect even the strongest swimmers.
  • If you find yourself in trouble, remember to float first – fight your instinct to swim – control your breathing, then kick to the side.
  • If you see someone in need of help - ring 999 immediately.

How can you help?

Get Help

  • The first thing you must do if you see someone in trouble in the water is to shout for help; send someone to ring 999.


  • With a long stick, a scarf, clothes or anything else.
  • Crouch or lie down to avoid being pulled in.


  • A rope is best you can then pull in the person.
  • Otherwise throw something that will float like a ball, a plastic bottle, a lifebuoy; this will keep the person afloat until help comes.

Cars in water

  • It only takes six inches of water before a driver can lose control of a small vehicle. 
  • Although tempting, flooding is not the time for sight seeing.
  • Watch out for washed-out roads, earth-slides, broken water or sewer mains and fallen objects.
  • If the road ahead is flooded choose another route, do not attempt to drive over it. It is easy to underestimate the power of fast moving water.



  • When the flood waters go down, there can be many unseen dangers. 
  • Floodwater becomes contaminated with sewage, dead animals and chemicals. 
  • Anyone cleaning up after floods should always wear gloves, a face mask and appropriate footwear. 
  • If you come into contact with flood water, do not eat or drink without washing your hands thoroughly first.
  • Do not go near disaster areas, you may get in the way of the emergency services.
  • Do not enter a flood damaged home or building.

Electrical issues

  • If your house has been flooded, your electrics should be checked by a qualified electrician to ensure they are safe to use.
  • If heaters or dehumidifiers are used to dry out your house, the adults should make sure there is good ventilation. They should NEVER use petrol or diesel powered generators indoors. The gases may contain Carbon Monoxide. They should NEVER use a portable generator inside your home or garage.

Carbon Monoxide poisoning

Using any engine in a confined area will produce toxic Carbon Monoxide gas.

Carbon Monoxide poisoning can easily be confused with:

  • flu
  • tiredness
  • poor concentration
  • memory and vision problems
  • loss of muscle coordination
  • headaches
  • vomiting and feeling sick

Carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal. 

If you have a boiler or open fire the you should have a Carbon Monoxide detector in your house.

Sources of Information and Advice for Your Family

  • Your insurance company or The Association of British Insurers helpline info@abi.org.uk
  • Your local Council for up-to-date information, including how to dispose of contaminated items.
  • Floodline – 0345 988 1188.
  • The Environment Agency - 0800 80 70 60 (24-hour service). 
  • Flood Advisory Service for free flood warnings by telephone, text, email or Facebook.
  • National Flood Forum – 01299 403 055, info@floodforum.org.uk 
  • For health concerns or advice, please contact your GP or call NHS 111.