Four codes are used for flood warnings. They can be issued in any order, usually ending with an ‘all clear’.

Flood watch - What it means

Flooding of low lying land and roads is expected.  Be aware, be prepared, watch out!

What to do

  • Monitor local news and weather forecasts
  • Be aware of water levels near you
  • Be prepared to act on your flood plan
  • Check on the safety pets and livestock
  • Charge your mobile phone

Flood warning - What it means

Flooding of homes and businesses is expected.  Act now!

What to do

  • Move cars, pets, food, valuables and important documents to safety
  • Get flood protection equipment in place (see What can I do to stop my home flooding?)
  • Turn off gas, electricity and water supplies if safe to do so
  • Be prepared to evacuate your home
  • Protect yourself, your family and help others
  • Act on your flood plan

Severe flood warning - What it means

Severe flooding is expected.  There is extreme danger to life and property. Act now!

What to do

  • Collect things you need for evacuation
  • Turn off gas, electricity and water supplies if safe to do so
  • Stay in a high place with a means of escape
  • Avoid electricity sources – don’t go into rooms with standing water if the power is still on and don’t use electrical appliances affected by, or in contact with moisture
  • Avoid walking or driving through flood water - 6 inches of swiftly moving water will sweep a person off their feet and there could be unseen dangers, such as lifted manhole covers
  • In danger call 999 immediately
  • Listen to emergency services
  • Act on your flood plan

All clear - What it means

Flood watches or warnings are no longer in force for this area.

  • Keep listening to weather reports
  • Only return to evacuated buildings if it is safe
  • Beware sharp objects and pollution in flood water
  • If your property or belongings are damaged, contact your insurance company. Ask their advice before starting to clean up. Remember, flood water can be contaminated and could be hazardous to health
  • If your house was flooded have your electrical system checked and confirmed safe before switching back on

If the flood warning indicates a flood is likely in your area, consider the points above depending on what level the risk is and utilise your flood plan. This is only a brief guide - there is a wealth of information on the internet so you can research the best response to your own requirements.

If a flood affects your house, contact your insurance company. If you can't return to your home then they'll be able to assist in arranging temporary accommodation and assess the damage as soon as possible.

If carpets have been submerged in water they will be ruined. To start the drying process, remove them together with the underlay and put them outside in case a valuation inspection is necessary. Similarly, sofas and other soft furnishings soaked in flood water are unlikely to be salvageable; move them outside for later inspection.

It is important to appreciate that following a flood your home could take a considerable time to dry out before repairs can start, so if this does occur, you may need to prepare yourself for a considerable period of disruption. If your home could flood again, then you may wish to consider incorporating flood resilience and resistance into the repair - see What can I do to stop my home flooding? and liaise with your insurers immediately.

If insured with NFU Mutual, notify your claim to your local office.  If you are in need of urgent help, please ring the 24 hour domestic emergency helpline on 0800 282652.