Flooding in February 2020

First steps

  • take care as there may be hidden dangers in the flood water and it could be contaminated
  • 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

Cleaning up the house after the flood

  • Flood water is likely to be contaminated, always wear waterproof gloves and clothing
  • Contact a qualified electrician / gas engineer to check that it is safe to turn supplies back on. Don’t touch sources of electricity when stood in flood water
  • Once it has been checked by an engineer, turn on your central heating to aid drying
  • Ordinary household products can be used to clean your property. Check with your insurance company as they may hire a company to do this for you
  • Contact your home insurance for assistance in pumping flood water from your property
  • Remove all soft furnishings and fittings that are damaged beyond repair.
  • 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.
  • Turn off the power supply before attempting to lift floorboards.
  • 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 Dettox.
  • Allow to dry thoroughly - this will also help to destroy any germs left behind. Heating and good ventilation will assist the drying process.

Clothing and bedding

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.

Recording damage

It is important for flood investigations and insurance purposes that you make a note of the damage to your property. It is advised that you:

  • 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

Returning to your home

It is recommended that you only fully re-occupy your home once all the deep cleaning has been carried out. There may be additional works to be carried out eventually as advised by your insurance company, housing officer, landlord, builder etc. If you decide to return to your home before this further work is completed you should:-

  • Try to have some heating on at all times, consider the use of a dehumidifier
  • Ensure the property is well ventilated. Leave windows open as much as possible. Remember security though!
  • Ensure that if you have air bricks to any under floor spaces that these are unblocked to give cross ventilation to these areas

Food preparation and storage 

  • Ensure all surfaces that food will come into contact with are not damaged and have been disinfected.  If work tops and other areas show signs of damage avoid contact with food in these areas. Particularly make sure that shelves, including in your fridge, are cleaned and disinfected
  • Keep any opened food in a sealed box or tin
  • All crockery, pots and pans should be thoroughly washed with very hot soapy water before using. If any of these are badly chipped or damaged do not use. You could also use a food-safe disinfectant, such as Milton, to sanitise them after cleaning. Follow the instructions carefully
  • Ensure taps are cleaned and disinfected before using them for the first time
  • Take particular care in preparing food, always wash your hands before starting


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 will 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 flood grants/support schemes, these are likely to be advertised by your district council
  • Join a community meeting/group to share your experiences with those who understand what you are going through
  • f you are concerned about your, or a family members, mental health or any other health issue make an appointment with your GP
  • If you are finding it difficult to cope and want to talk with someone the Samaritans are available 24 hours a day: 08457 90 90 90

Help with council tax

You may be able to qualify for help with your council tax bill if your home is affected by flooding.

To qualify, you must have had to move out of your home while work is carried out to make your home habitable again. We will need evidence of the work being undertaken and also details of your new home while the work is happening.

Please contact us for more details if you think this applies to you.

Food premises affected by flooding

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 the council's Environmental Health team.

Preparing for flooding in the future

To help give you peace of mind and to protect your property and family, consider how you can prepare for flooding in the future.

There are things you can do while repairing your property that will make it easier and cheaper to clean up after a future flood. Discuss protection measures with your builder and loss adjuster.

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