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How do I prepare for flooding?

Preparing for flooding

If your property is at risk of flooding it is recommended that you have a plan for how you would deal with it. This can help to reduce the damage and destruction caused to your property and the stress of dealing with the aftermath. The council has produced a ‘Plan ahead and protect your home‘ (PDF) leaflet which outlines how you can be more prepared.

Flooding can damage your home, your belongings and can disrupt your life. Simple actions like packing a bag with essentials, turning off your utilities and moving things to safety can help protect your home, your family and your health. To find out more and make your flood plan today go to How to plan ahead for flooding.

The Environment Agency have also produced a leaflet to help you plan for what to do before, during and after a flood:

If flooding is due in the next few hours

If you receive a flood warning from the Environment Agency or are alerted to the potential risk of flooding from another organisation or a weather forecast you should take the following action:

  • Install any property level protection measures that you have (e.g. flood boards, sandbags etc.).
  • Move valuable possessions to a higher floor or elevated surface.
  • Prepare belongings in case you will need to leave your house.
  • If you have time, turn off gas, electricity and water supplies.
  • Keep tuned to local radio – BBC Radio Humberside 95.9FM.
  • If you think you may need to stay in your house take some basic supplies upstairs including water and food.
  • If at any point you or your neighbours are in danger call 999.

Make sure that you follow the instructions of the emergency services if they ask you to evacuate your property.

Protect your property from flooding

Protecting your property will help reduce the damage and disruption flooding can cause. Repairs should be cheaper and you won’t need to spend as much time away from your home.

You are advised to seek professional guidance from a building surveyor before making changes to your home.  Preventing excessive depths of water from entering could cause structural damage.

When flood waters rise, they are able to enter your home through the following ways:

  • Doors and windows
  • Floors and air bricks
  • Walls
  • Drains including toilets, showers and sinks
  • Service entry points (e.g. gas, electricity)

Flood resistance measures will help to prevent water from entering your home, for example, door barriers and air brick covers.  Flood resilience measures will help when you are unable to prevent water from entering your property by making it easier and cheaper to recover after a flood.

The National Flood Forum has created the Blue Pages website to provide more information on the different products available, such as door barriers and air brick covers, and where you can buy them.  Some are also available in local DIY stores.  Look for  the BSI Kitemark – it shows that the products have been subject to strict independent testing.

Support during a flood

During a flood event the resources of the Council and other authorities are likely to be stretched and may not be able respond in person to every call received. Some types of flooding also occur with little warning and so often the best response comes from the owners of the property affected.

During a flood the Council will mobilise the staff and equipment that it has to ensure that gullies and drains are not blocked and are able to drain water away.

For more widespread or larger flooding events (e.g. tidal flooding) the Council will also open and operate rest centres if people are evacuated from their homes.

Getting insurance cover

People who live in flood risk areas or who have experienced flooding in the past can find it difficult to obtain affordable flood insurance for their property.  Without insurance you will be vulnerable to the impacts of a flood.

If you are having difficulty going through your existing provider you may need to shop around and go through a specialist insurance broker.  The British Insurance Brokers’ Association website can help with this.

More information on how to get flood insurance is also provided on the National Flood Forum website.

A new scheme, called Flood Re, is due to begin in April.  This will provide affordable insurance for those most at risk.  More information on how this works can be found on the Flood Re website.

Community planning

During a flood the Council and the emergency services are likely to experience high demand for help and may not be able to attend areas where life is not in immediate danger.  This is where the response of a local community will be able to make a difference.


The council does not provide sandbags to members of the public. If you wish to use them they can be purchased from local DIY stores or builders merchants.

However, the effectiveness of sandbags is limited.  Unless laid correctly they are not good at keeping water out of property and if the water is contaminated with sewerage they have to be disposed of after only one use.

We would recommend that purpose-made property level protection products are more suitable to keep water from entering property.  These can be quickly deployed, form a watertight seal and can be cleaned and re-used.  More information on these products can be found on the Blue Pages website from the National Flood Forum.

Read our Sandbag Policy (PDF) for more information.

Here are some practical steps on placing sandbags.

Getting involved in decision making

The Council wants to ensure that people are able to contribute to decisions that are made to reduce the risk of flooding.  If you have formed a specific flood group or are an existing group that is concerned about the risk of flooding please get in touch on 01472 325037.

Protecting businesses

Flooding can have a serious impact on a business, disrupting supply chains, staff and customers.  In order to keep your business running and minimise the impacts as far as possible you should have a plan for how you will respond to a flood.

The Environment Agency have produced a guide for businesses that is specifically focussed what needs to be considered to prepare for flooding:

Related content

Map of Main Rivers and Ordinary Watercourses (PDF)

Map of Main Rivers, Ordinary Watercourses and Drainage Board areas (PDF)

Sandbag Policy (PDF)

Contact details

Drainage and Costal Defence, New Oxford House, 2 George Street, Grimsby, North East Lincolnshire, DN31 1HB

Email: [email protected]

Telephone: 01472 313131

Opening times: By appointment only