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What to do in a flood

4. What to do if you get a severe flood warning

A severe flood warning means lives are at risk: you must act now.

What you should do:

  • call 999 if you’re in immediate danger
  • act on your flood plan if you have one
  • make sure you have an emergency kit including a torch, spare batteries, mobile phone and charger, warm clothes, important numbers like your home insurance, water, food, first aid kit and any medicines and babycare items you may need
  • keep track of the weather forecast, flood warnings and water levels
  • use any flood protection equipment (like sandbags and air brick covers) to protect your property
  • move important items upstairs or to a safe place, starting with cherished items and valuables
  • pack a bag for a few nights away
  • turn off your gas, electricity and water supplies before flood water gets into your property
  • never touch an electrical switch if you’re standing in water
  • alert neighbours and offer help if it's safe to do so
  • evacuate your property if you’re told to do so (most evacuation centres will let you bring your pets)
  • avoid walking, cycling or driving through flood water – 6 inches (15cm) of fast-flowing water can sweep an adult off their feet, while 12in (30cm) can move a car
  • wash your hands if you’ve been in contact with flood water which may contain raw sewage


  • act on your business flood plan if you have one
  • move your staff and customers to a safe place
  • move stock and other valuable items upstairs or to a safe place in your building