The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK), the Drowning Prevention Charity, is urging people not to put their lives at risk and stay as safe as possible after rapid flooding has hit the UK this morning.

Up to 30 millimetres of rain has fallen in 12 hours on already saturated ground within some parts of the West Midlands area causing rapid flooding.

The Met Office has issued one flood warning for River Sherbourne at Allesley and 15 flood alerts for rivers across the West Midlands area of the country and RLSS UK is urging people to take advice.

The charity says it is vital that people don’t underestimate the dangers of floodwater. Safety around floodwater could mean the difference between life and death.

Just six inches of fast flowing water is enough to knock an adult over and two feet of water will float a car.

The warning comes after media reports several vehicles stranded and numerous victims have been rescued by emergency services whose car have become trapped in high flood water. The flooding has also caused the closure of 13 Warwickshire Schools.

RLSS UK’s Chief Executive, Di Steer, said: “Drowning is not just a tragic outcome of accidents during hot, summer weather – winter weather, especially the flood waters can be extremely deadly.

“We have already seen serve weather and vast floodings across the West Midlands including Worcestershire and Warwickshire and we are asking people to make sure that they take care during very wet weather.

“These conditions can be dangerous and create a significant risk of drowning if safety advice is not followed. Don’t take risks and certainly do not go anywhere near floodwater unless absolutely necessary.”

RLSS UK warns care should be taken not just around swollen rivers but near general floodwater on roads and pathways too.

“It is often tempting to take a look at rivers at their peak but it can be dangerous,” Di Steer added.

“But it’s not just these areas of water which can cause problems. Floodwater on roads and paths can be deeper and more powerful than it looks and people can easily fall or be knocked over.

“We would ask people to follow our simple advice to help ensure they and their families stay safe.”


RLSS UK’s Advice:

  • Never try to walk or drive through floodwater – six inches of fast flowing water can knock an adult over and two feet of water will float a car
  • Never try to swim through fast flowing water or flood water – you may get swept away or be struck or caught up in an object in the water
  • Never allow children or pets to go near or play in flood water. It is hazardous and may be contaminated with chemicals
  • Keep an eye on weather reports for flooding in your area. Do not travel in heavy rainstorms unless absolutely necessary
  • Prepare a flood kit in case your home floods or you are trapped in a vehicle for any period– this can contain a change of clothing, wellies, waterproofs and blankets as well as a torch, charged mobile, radio, medication and a first aid kit and a list of useful numbers, including flood alert lines


Should your car enter floodwater:

  • Call for help, remove seatbelt and release any children from their seats
  • Turn on all the lights and sound the horn to attract attention (only if this won’t delay  your escape)
  • If the water level is low – open the windows and stay in the car
  • If the water level is high – escape out of the windows, sunroof or doors onto the roof of the car. Stay with the car. If the car starts to move quickly with the water flow, get off the car, stay upstream from the car, and swim vigorously to safety
  • If the water is entering the car – escape out of the windows, sunroof or doors (breaking windows if necessary). Stay upstream from the car, and swim vigorously to safety
  • If you cannot escape, call and signal for help. Turn on all of the lights and sound the horn