Help and advice for your home
During a flood
- Turn off your gas and electricity supply if it’s safe. Never touch the electricity supply if you’re standing in water.
- Unplug all electrical items and store upstairs or as high up as possible.
- Disconnect all appliances connected to pipes in case they move during flooding.
- Turn off your water inlet pipes using non-return valves if you have them, or by plugging the pipes with towels or cloths.
- Put plugs into sinks and weigh them down with something heavy.
- Place sandbags around all doorways, airbricks and windows (leave some room for ventilation).
- For external doors and windows – open and smear silicone sealant around the frame, then shut and lock the door/window.
- Leave internal doors open or remove them and store them upstairs.
- Move as much furniture as you can upstairs, empty drawers or cupboards to make them lighter and store contents in boxes.
- If items are too heavy, raise them on blocks but keep away from walls (this helps with drying out later). Weigh them down to make sure they don’t float around and cause damage.
- Roll up rugs and carpets if you can, and take them upstairs.
- Remove curtains if you can, if not, hang them over the rail to keep them above the flood water.
Outside your home
- Move items like dustbins and barbeques that are not fixed down, to a safer location.
- Drive your car to as high a place as possible to avoid damage.
- Weigh down manhole covers to stop them floating away and leaving a hazardous hole.
Important: If it looks as if you’re going to have to evacuate your home, pack spare clothing and follow any advice given to you by the emergency services.
After a flood
What happens now?
Your local emergency services will advise you if it is safe to return home. You will need your home professionally assessed before you can move back into it.Your gas, electric and water suppliers can tell you whether your area has been reconnected.
Your gas and electric systems will need to be inspected by qualified engineers, even if the damage seems light:
- gas pipes may be blocked with mud or silt
- flues and ventilation systems may be damaged
- the main fuse system may have been flooded
- your trip switch may be out of action.
Keep damaged items
If your home is damaged, you probably want to start clearing up. But if you are registering a claim, please make a note of the following – to help support your claim.
- Keep items you want to claim for, even if they are damaged beyond repair.
- For larger items like carpets or rugs, you could keep a sample.
- Take photographs of the items and your home.
You could leave windows and doors open to help dry your property, but please make sure that it’s safe to do so.
Before a flood
Assess your risk
The flood threat to your home could be from rivers, the sea or more commonly surface water, where the underlying ground cannot drain away heavy rainfall fast enough.
You can get live flooding information and advice on how to cope with flooding from SEPA (Scottish Environment Protection Agency). You can also find Floodline Scotland here or call them on 0345 988 1188.
Top tip: Keep important personal documents in a sealed bag and in a location safe from floodwater.
Get one step ahead
- Make sure you know how to turn off your water, gas and electricity, you’ll need to do this if flooding is imminent.
- Keep essential items in a waterproof bag, such as cash for emergencies, a torch with spare batteries and a battery-powered radio.
- Consider keeping sentimental items – like jewellery, ornaments, paintings – upstairs permanently, so you do not forget them in case of a flood.
- You could consider buying special flood protection products like floodboards, airbrick covers and a toilet bung in case there is sewer backflow.
- Have important documents to hand, like your home insurance policy number. You could put our claims line number in your mobile to save time.
Where to find flood protection products? National Flood Forum