Prepare for a flood

Flooding can occur anywhere - you do not have to live near a river, stream or reservoir to be affected. This is because the drainage system, whether open watercourses or pipes, can become overwhelmed by the amount of water it is expected to carry. In addition, when the ground is saturated even small extra amounts of rainfall can have difficulty draining away from gardens and enclosed spaces. Owing to the nature of this type of flooding, it is very difficult to predict where it will happen.

Flooding can happen quickly and unexpectedly. There are things you can do to limit its impact on your property:

Personal flood plan

  • If you live in a flood risk area, do what you can now to prepare for a flood. Don't wait until it happens as you may not have time. The Environment Agency have created a personal flood plan which you can download, print and fill in
  • The personal flood plan includes a list of things you should do (like moving sentimental items to safety), and provides space for you to note down important contact details such as your utility companies and insurance
  • You may also want to think about developing a community resilience plan

Sandbags or flood barriers

  • Get sandbags or flood barriers in advance if you think your property may be at risk from flooding. The Environment Agency publishes a guide on how best to use them
  • We do not provide sandbags for individual domestic use. We may provide sandbags for strategic deployment during flooding - for the protection of essential services such as electricity or water supplies. When used correctly sandbags can provide some protection from flood waters. If you wish to keep a stock of sandbags, your local builders merchants should be able to help you. Your parish council may also have a supply of sandbags. Note that sandbags are only effective for water up to about 20cm/8" deep

Flood risk in your area

You can get more advice from the National Flood Forum on how to protect yourself and your property if a flood happens. The National Flood Forum also maintains the Blue Pages - an independent flood directory that lists a range of products and services that support delivery of property flood recoverability and resistance.

  • The Flood Guidance website incorporates guidance and advice from sources including insurers, government and other industry sectors
  • The Flood Hub has been designed to be a one stop shop for flood information and resources to support householders, businesses and communities across the North West in becoming more flood resilient
  • The Six Steps to Flood Resilience published by Manchester Metropolitan University’s ‘Smartest Project’, provides a step-by-step guide to the purchase, installation and use of property-level technologies
  • The updated 2020 Property Flood Resilience emagazine, written by Mary Dhonau,contains real life stories of how people have adapted their homes and businesses to make them resilient to future floods.

Household insurance - Flood Re scheme

Flood Re is a joint initiative between the Government and insurers. Its aim is to make the flood cover part of household insurance policies more affordable.

How Flood Re works leaflet (pdf)

It is important that people at high flood-risk in Herefordshire shop around for the best insurance policy. For more information visit the Flood Re website.

What to do in a flood

Floods are dangerous. Just six inches of fast-flowing water can knock you over, while two feet can sweep away your car.

If you are being flooded, put the safety of yourself and your family first. Dial 999 if you are or somebody else is in immediate danger and need rescuing.

For advice during a flood, refer to the government's Get help during a flood information.