Flooding can happen anywhere - even from blocked road drains or burst water mains. So even if you don't live in an area with a history of flooding, these pages are for you.
Register with the Environment Agency floodline telephone service to receive automated flood warning messages (Minicom users should call 03702 422 549).
If you are the property owner and insured, your insurers will probably appoint a structural engineer or loss adjuster to carry out an assessment and arrange repairs. If you are uninsured you may have to arrange this yourself. If you are a tenant, you may be responsible for the repairs, depending on your property owner. Contact the Citizens Advice Bureau for further advice. If your home is uninhabitable and you are insured your insurers may help you arrange emergency accommodation, if you are uninsured or a tenant and are made homeless in an emergency, contact us on 01329 236100.
Do not use food which floodwater has reached as it may be contaminated. Any utensils which have been in floodwater must be cleaned and boiled in fresh water before use.
Experience from previous flooding has shown that any risk to health is small. You do not need any booster immunisations or antibiotics. Floodwater and sewage often leaves a muddy deposit that may contain bacteria and other micro-organisms. Most will be harmless but some of these germs may cause gastroenteritis (tummy upset) if ingested.
If anyone in your family becomes ill you should deal with it in the way you normally would. Use protective clothing such as wellington boots and household rubber gloves if you are involved in the clean up to minimise the risk of infection. Cover any cuts with waterproof plaster. The single most important precaution is washing your hands after any contact with flood water or sludge and particularly before eating or preparing food.
Do not let young children play on affected areas until they have been cleaned down and restored to their normal condition. Children should always wash their hands after playing outdoors, especially before eating or preparing food.
Don't eat garden or allotment vegetables that have been covered by sewerage or floodwater. Although any risk is small, it is better to dispose of any contaminated produce and start again.
The following help and advice will help you get back to normal as quickly as possible after a flood. When floodwater recedes, it may leave a muddy deposit, as well as the distress of clearing up there may be structural damage to your property. Remember that while sandbags help to keep water out, they will also keep it in as the water goes down. The Yellow pages lists details of qualified help such as plumbers and electricians as well as suppliers of cleaning materials and equipment. This can be found under "flood damage". You may need to contact utility suppliers to reconnect supplies. Always wear rubber gloves to clean surfaces or move objects that have been in contact with the floodwater - the water will have been contaminated with sewage and other pollution.
If your home has flooded, contact your insurance company immediately. Most household policies provide insurance cover for flooding. If you are a tenant and have taken out contents insurance, household contents, fixtures and fittings should be covered. It is normally the responsibility of your landlord to provide building insurance. However, you are advised to check your policy. If you are uninsured you will most likely be responsible for covering all costs of flood damage. Remember to keep records of flood damage (photos etc).
In 2016 a new national scheme called 'Flood Re' was introduced as a joint initiative from the Government and the insurance industry. It is designed to help provide better access to affordable home insurance for those in high flood-risk areas. See http://www.escp.org.uk/flood-insurance for details.
Do not re-enter your house until all floodwater has been removed. Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service may be able to help you with pumping floodwater out of your house. Remember others may also need this help so you may have to wait your turn. There is no point pumping out rising water, it will come straight back in! If traffic is causing waves to further flood your property contact Hampshire Police (101), alternatively if flooding is being caused by a public sewer, in the first instance contact Southern Water (0330 303 1263) or Portsmouth Water (023 9249 9888).
Ventilate your building after flooding - less damp is less damage Put on protective clothing before starting any clean up Remove all soft furnishings and fittings that are damaged beyond repair Remove dirty water and silt from the property including the space under the ground floor if you have wooden floors. This space may need pumping out. Wash down all hard surfaces with hot soapy water Use a domestic disinfectant (following manufacturers' direction as to concentrations) to wash over all hard surfaces after cleaning Clothing, bedding and other soft/fabric articles including children's toys etc should be laundered at the highest temperature as indicated on manufacturers' instructions Other soft furnishings that have been contaminated and cannot be put in a washing machine will have to be professionally cleaned or if this is not possible may have to be disposed of Dispose of all food affected by the flood water Seek advice from us on cleaning up if you have any doubts about it Seek professional advice if your property is damaged.
Throw rubbish into watercourses or leave debris on the banks - it can add to the flooding problem Use electrical circuits or equipment exposed to flood water until checked by a qualified electrician Dispose of damaged goods until your insurers have inspected them Use domestic water supply until your insurers have had a chance to inspect them Use domestic water supply until you are advised it is safe to drink Use the flood water for drinking, food preparation, washing or bathing - the water will be contaminated with sewage and other pollution Use any foodstuffs that have been in contact with flood water.
Stay calm Check that neighbours know about any flood warnings issued Move people and animals to a place of safety and provide a litter tray for pets Switch off gas, water and electricity Listen to the local radio for up to date news on the flood Have spare clothes, wellingtons, waterproofs, torch batteries, radio and food readily available If you need to be evacuated because of severe flooding or damage, contact the police or dial 999. Remember to lock up if you leave your property.
Visit the Environment Agency web site through the link below, type your postcode or place name into the box, press the 'SEARCH' button and you will see a map centred on your postcode, with 'standard' flood risk areas in blue and 'extreme' flood risk areas in green. 'Zoom in' on the map for greater detail. The Environment Agency flood maps .
Our responsibilities are extremely limited. Most responsibility for flood protection and alleviation lies with the Environment Agency and private individuals. You can see general preparation and response advice to flooding incidents below.
Two types of flooding occur regularly in our area - major rivers overflowing (fluvial flooding) and flash flooding. For more information on the flooding of major rivers where you live, to find out if your house is at risk and information on how to obtain flood warnings, please contact the Environment Agency, www.environment-agency.gov.uk
If using sandbags, put a large sheet of heavy-duty plastic between them and the wall of your house. This makes a better defence than sandbags alone. Do not forget that water will come through the airbricks if they are not protected. A number of firms sell flood shields which can be fitted to doors and airbricks. These are quite expensive but effective. However, neither these or sandbags will prevent underground seepage which may lead to flooding from below if river levels remain high for a long time.
It is important to seek the best possible insurance cover for your home and contents - it is too late to consider this after a flood.
Make sure you know how to turn off your electricity, gas and water Have a supply of drinking water in clean bottles or similar containers Fill the bath and buckets with water for washing etc Flood kit - keep a battery radio and a torch (with spare batteries), necessary medication, emergency numbers, rubber gloves and your insurance policy in a safe place Think about cooking without gas or electric supplies Keep local numbers of electricity, gas and water companies, in your pack When choosing furniture, floor coverings etc, keep in mind how they may be affected by water and the need to be able to move them easily.