The risk of homes flooding is more of a problem than many of us realise.

According to the Environment Agency, around one in six properties is at some risk of flooding. While 2.4 million people live in immediate flood risk areas, with a further 2.8 million properties susceptible to surface water flooding.

Through flood safety education; knowing what to do before, during and after flooding; drowning as a result of flooding is preventable.

Whether there are 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.

It is often tempting to take a look at 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.

Top flood safety tips 

  • Never try to walk or drive through floodwater

    30cm 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  • Once flood water has rescinded stay well clear of the water’s edge
    – 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

How to manage a car in flood water

  • 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

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