Advice after being flooded

The following advice will help you get back to normal as quickly as possible after a flood. When floodwater recedes, it may leave a muddy deposit, as well as the distress of clearing up there may be structural damage to your property.

After a flooding incident

  • Remember that while flood protection devices help to keep water out, they will also keep it in as it recedes
  • The Yellow Pages lists details of qualified assistance such as plumbers and electricians as well as suppliers of cleaning materials and equipment.
  • It may be necessary to contact utility suppliers to reconnect supplies.
  • Always wear rubber gloves to clean surfaces or move objects that have been in contact with the floodwater - the water may have been contaminated with sewage and other pollution.
  • Don’t use electrical circuits or equipment exposed to flood water until checked by a qualified electrician.
  • Don't dispose of damaged goods until your insurers advise you to do so.

Cleaning up

The London Fire Brigade may be able to help you with pumping floodwater out of your house. Remember others may also need this help so you may have to wait your turn. Remember there is no point pumping out rising water it will come straight back in!

If traffic is causing waves to further flood your property contact your local Police, alternatively if flooding is being caused by a public sewer, in the first instance contact Thames Water.

It is also recommended the following measures are taken

  • Ventilate your building after flooding - less damp is less damage. Did you know it takes a house brick about one month per inch to dry out?
  • Put on protective clothing before starting any clean-up.
  • Remove all soft furnishings and fittings that are damaged beyond repair.
  • Remove dirty water and silt from the property including the space under the ground floor if you have wooden floors. This space may need pumping out.
  • Wash down all hard surfaces with hot soapy water.and then disinfect them.
  • Clothing, bedding and other soft fabric articles including children's toys etc should be laundered at the highest temperature as indicated on manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Other soft furnishings that have been contaminated and cannot be put in a washing machine will have to be professionally cleaned or if this is not possible may have to be disposed of.
  • Seek advice from Environmental Health Services on clearing up if you have any doubts about it.
  • Seek professional advice if your property is damaged.

Reducing the risk of Infection

Do not use food which the floodwater has reached. It may be contaminated.

  • Any utensils which have been in the floodwater must be cleaned and boiled in fresh water before use.
  • Floodwater often leaves a muddy deposit that may contain bacteria and other micro-organisms. Most will be harmless but some of these germs may cause gastroenteritis if ingested.
  • If anyone in your family does become ill you should contact your GP or NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.
  • Use protective clothing such as wellington boots and household rubber gloves if involved in the clean up to minimise the risk of infection. Cover any cuts with waterproof plaster. The single most important precaution is washing your hands after any contact with flood water or sludge and particularly before eating or preparing food.

Gardens and play areas

  • Do not let children play on affected areas until they have been cleaned down and restored to their normal condition.
  • Children should always wash their hands after playing outdoors, especially before eating or preparing food.

Garden vegetable produce

  • Don’t eat garden or allotment vegetables that have been covered by sewerage or floodwater. Although any health risk is small, it is better to dispose of any contaminated produce and start again.

Rebuilding after a flood

  • A flood may give you the opportunity to modify your property to make it more resilient in the future. The National Flood Forum offer advice on repairing your home.

Up to:

Updated: 22 June 2017