The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) is issuing safety advice as people take risks as severe floods continue to cause disruption. 


As Storm Henk continues to affect large parts of the UK and causes ongoing severe weather conditions, an increasing number of incidents have been reported involving driving through and entering flood water. 

The media has also reported incidents of people falling on slippery banks into open water, with these events sadly resulting in the loss of lives; including three male victims named in North Yorkshire and one woman in Scotland.

With the increase in weather-related accidents, there have also been hundreds of rescues as emergency services have been enlisted to help navigate the stormy conditions. 

And with bad weather set to continue and more serious flood warnings expected, safety around floodwater could mean the difference between life and death. 

Due to the hazardous weather conditions, RLSS UK urges people to use its water safety advice in a flood.

RLSS UK’s quick advice tips for staying safe during times of flooding:
  • 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. If stuck, call 999 and wait for help.
  • If you see someone in trouble in the water – do not go in yourself to attempt to rescue them – shout for help, call 999, and find a nearby rescue device such as a life buoy. If there is no water rescue equipment nearby – try and find something that floats and throw it to them if possible.
  • Get to the highest level if trapped in a building – only get on the roof if necessary and signal for help. Do not climb into a closed attic to avoid getting trapped by rising floodwater.
  • Keep an eye on weather reports for flooding in your area. Do not travel in heavy rainstorms unless necessary.
  • Once flood water has rescinded stay well clear of the water’s edge as it is likely to be extremely slippery and prone to erosion in places.
  • 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.

Lee Heard, Charity Director at RLSS UK, said: “As we continue to see heavy rainfall and severe flooding across the UK, in some cases resulting in fatalities, we urge people to check the travel conditions before they leave the house and not to take unnecessary risks. 

“We have witnessed increasing reports and social media content celebrating risky behaviour in floodwater. People are often curious to see rivers at their peak but this can be dangerous, and drivers may take risks driving through floodwater, unaware of levels of depth.  It is vital not to underestimate the power of floodwater and the impact of erosion and dangerous debris that easily gets moved around by the strength of the water.

“We appreciate the disruption flood water causes to our everyday lives. Whether it is swollen rivers or general floodwater on roads and pathways, it is vital people follow simple, common sense, steps during periods of flooding to help ensure they, and their families, stay safe. 

“RLSS UK is calling on everyone to be proactive and to learn about water safety to protect themselves and their loved ones.”