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How to recover after a flood

Contact your insurance company

If you haven’t done this already, call your insurance company and follow their advice. If you live in rented property, check that your landlord’s insurance covers flooding.

If you haven’t got insurance, the National Flood Forum can offer help and support. Call them on 01299 403055.

Get help

Find your local flood action group or flood warden

If there’s been a serious flood, your local authority may have chosen a place like the town hall as a ‘flood hub’ from which to organise recovery efforts.

You may have a nearby flood warden or flood action group. Contact the National Flood Forum for help in finding local support.

Apply for financial aid

You may be able to get financial aid for flood recovery. Apply to your local council.

Get emotional support

Having a flooded home is very stressful. If you need emotional support, contact family and friends, your doctor or an organisation like the Red Cross or the Samaritans.

Public Health England offers a guide to mental wellbeing after a flood.

Check if you can return home

If you’ve had to leave your home, check with the emergency services that it’s safe before you return.

Your home or business may also need a safety inspection by the utility companies before you can turn the water, gas and electricity back on.

Clean up

Before you start cleaning, take photographs to document damage and record the flood water height. Ask your insurer before discarding items that cannot be cleaned (like mattresses and carpets).

Find out how to clean up your home safely after a flood.

Your local authority should help with collecting large flood damaged items. They’ll tell you where to put them and when they may be collected.

You can dispose of used sandbags at your local tip. If you think they are contaminated by chemicals or sewage, contact your local council and ask how to dispose of them.

You can put most other things in the bin if they’re not polluted. Contact the council if you need skips or extra rubbish collections.

Stay healthy

Flood water may contain sewage, chemicals and animal waste which can cause diseases. When cleaning your home after a flood always wear gloves, a face mask and sturdy footwear.

You can find general advice about staying healthy after a flood at Public Health England.

If you notice a change in the colour, taste or smell of your tap water, stop using it and phone your water company.

You can get support from your your local health protection team to prevent and reduce the effect of diseases.

Don’t eat food that’s touched flood water. If your electricity is off, don’t eat fresh food from a fridge after 4 hours or from a freezer after 24 hours.

The Food Standards Agency offers detailed food safety advice for flood victims.

Make repairs

Contact your insurance company before you begin any repairs. Most repair work after flooding will need to be done by approved traders appointed by your insurer.

If you use heaters or dehumidifiers to dry out your property, make sure there’s good ventilation. Never use petrol or diesel-powered generators indoors; their exhaust gases contain potentially lethal carbon monoxide.

Prepare for future floods

Read the National Flood Forum's advice on how to protect your property from flooding in the future.

You could take measures such as laying tiles instead of carpets, moving electrical sockets higher up the walls and fitting non-return valves.

You can find suppliers of flood products and services on the Bluepages website.