What to do after a flood

What to do after a flood

Severn Trent has some helpful information about cleaning up following a flood and support that they can provide.

What are the first things I need to do after a flood?

The very first thing to do is to take care as there may be hidden dangers in the flood water and it could be contaminated.

Next you should contact your insurance company and follow their advice. It’s likely they will send a loss adjuster to look at your property. They will confirm what repairs and replacements are needed and covered by your policy, and may arrange a skip for the disposal of damaged items. If you rent your property, contact your landlord and contents insurer. Find out more about insurance and flooding as well as additional sources of financial support.

I can't return my home what can I do?

Try to stay with friends or family until the risk is over.

Contact your insurer, as they might be able to arrange accommodation and contact us by calling 01636 650000 as we may be able to help with opening an emergency shelter.

I am back in my home. What do I do first?

Before you start any cleaning it’s important for flood investigations and insurance purposes that you make a note of the damage to your property. You should:

  • mark on the wall the height the flood water reached in each room
  • photograph or video the flood water and damage
  • make a list of the damage to your property and belongings
  • keep a note of all correspondence with insurance companies and any other organisations that are assisting you

I have no water/gas/electricity what should I do?

Your utilities may have been switched off for safety reasons. Do not switch on any utilities until you have checked with an expert that is safe to do so. You should contact a qualified electrician / gas engineer to check that it is safe to turn supplies back on. Don’t touch sources of electricity when you are stood in flood water. Once it has been checked by an engineer, turn on your central heating to aid drying. If supplies are not connected contact: 

  • Severn Trent Water by calling 0800 783 4444
  • gas emergency services by calling 0800 111 999
  • by calling 105 for electric

Where can I get a water displacement pump?

You need to remove all dirty water and silt from the property as much as possible, including out of the space under downstairs floorboards if you have these. This may require pumping out. Contact your home insurance if you need assistance in pumping flood water from your property. You can hire pumps from local hire centres. The Fire Service will deal with a situation that is life threatening.

How do I clean my property?

Firstly, remember that flood water is likely to be contaminated, always wear waterproof gloves and clothing. Ordinary household products can be used to clean your property but check with your insurance company as they may hire a company to do this for you.

You should remove all soft furnishings and fittings that are damaged beyond repair.Wash down all hard surfaces with hot soapy water several times until visually clean. Use a domestic disinfectant, following manufacturers directions as to concentrations, to wash over all hard surfaces after cleaning.

Food preparation surfaces and storage cupboards, refrigerators etc should be washed down with food-safe disinfectants such as Milton or Dettol. Allow to dry thoroughly - this will also help to destroy any germs left behind. Heating and good ventilation will assist the drying process.

Bedding and other soft or fabric articles including children's toys should be laundered on a hot wash (60°C and above) which will destroy any germs. Other soft furnishings that have been contaminated and cannot be put in a washing machine will have to be professionally cleaned. If this is not possible they may have to be disposed of.

Don't allow children to play in floodwater areas and wash children's hands frequently (always before meals). Wash floodwater-contaminated toys with hot water and disinfectant before allowing them to be used again.

As your property continues to dry out, vacuum any loose material and dust on a regular basis.

What should I do with bulky items and carpets destroyed by floods?

If you have any flood damaged domestic bulky items such as furniture or white goods, please check with your insurance company before disposing of them as it may affect your claim.

Residents who need help disposing of large household items that have been damaged by the flooding can book a FREE bulky waste collection with the District Council. Bookings must be made by calling 01636 650000 or emailing customerservices@newark-sherwooddc.gov.uk and not on the Council’s website.

If you have a bulky waste collection for your flood-damaged items booked, please make sure to leave the waste outside and on the edge of your property to ensure our crews know which waste to collect. A specific collection day cannot be guaranteed.

Please note that upholstery and electrical items must be collected separately due to the way they are disposed of and should be kept separate if you have a mix of items being collected.

Items that can be collected as bulky waste include:

  • armchairs
  • sofas
  • bed frames
  • mattress
  • extra bags of refuse
  • washing machines
  • microwaves

Find out about our bulky waste collection service.

You can take domestic items to local household recycling centres.

If you have no means of transporting items to a household waste site, please check with your insurance company to see if they can help, as costs of removal may be possible to be added to your claim.

I’m feeling overwhelmed? Can I get support?

A flood that has affected your or your community can be traumatic. Do not overdo it when cleaning up, and remember that tiredness, difficulty sleeping and anxiety are normal in these circumstances.

To help support you, your family and friends in the aftermath of a flood, consider the following:

  • we’ll help you and your community recover after a flood, information and support services established in response to the flooding will be advertised locally
  • you may be eligible for flooding grants/support schemes
  • join a community meeting/group to share your experiences with those who understand what you’re going through
  • if you’re concerned about your own or a family members mental health, or have any other health issues, make an appointment with your GP
  • if you’re finding it difficult to cope and want to talk with someone the Samaritans are available 24 hours a day on 08457 90 90 90

I own a food business. What should I do?

If your food business has been affected by flooding, there may be a serious and imminent risk to health. All food premises affected by flooding must contact us

What should I do with sandbags after a flood?

Wherever possible please store full bags that have not come into contact with flood water to use again if you need them in the future. Often more than one flooding incident can occur in quick succession. We cannot re-issue sandbags to the same property over and over again.

The white plastic bags are durable for a period of a year or more if they are kept dry and in a shady place.

Please remember wet sandbags are very heavy, try to get someone to help you lift them. Any disabled people, the elderly or people with medical conditions who cannot lift or move the bags should contact us and we can arrange help.

If you are unable to store the bags full, then please empty the bags and store the pile of sand in your garden or yard and keep the bags so that they can be re-filled if necessary in the future.

If you do not wish to store them sand can be dug into the garden and once empty the bags can be placed in the wheelie bin and the sand dug into the garden if you have one. Please do not place full sandbags or the sand in your green wheelie bin.

Do not allow children to play with the sand, or place it in sand pits. The sand is not suitable for this purpose, and it may harm your children

What should I do with aqua-sacs after a flood?

Flood wardens are arranging for aqua-sacs to be collected from specified locations in communities and residents can also have any remaining aqua sacs collected through the free bulky waste collections. Please ring 01636 650000 or email customerservices@newark-sherwooddc.gov.uk to book the collection. Residents are encouraged to save any unused aqua-sacs for future and store them in a dry place.

Aqua-sacs are non-hazardous waste suitable for disposal in an approved solid waste landfill. Therefore, unused (dry) and used bags can be sent to landfill. Another possibility for disposal of limited numbers of bags is by 'greening', whereby bags are buried under a tree during planting to provide a water reservoir.

If greening is impractical, bags may be cut open to remove the SAP, which can be dug into soil to improve moisture retention.