Repair and restoration of buildings following floods
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Immediate action

During a period of flooding the water levels may rise and fall over a period of several weeks, dependent upon rainfall and drainage. It is pointless to carry out all restoration work until you are fairly confident that the floods have gone. However, do carry out any immediate work to make the structure safe if you can. Continue to monitor the weather and flood warnings.

If further floods are forecast, concentrate first on preparing for this eventuality before attempting property repairs. Sandbags can help prevent silt entering a property, although they are seldom completely effective in preventing damage. They can usually be obtained from your local authority or you could improvise these yourself by using tights, strong plastic bags or pillow cases filled with sand or earth.

Follow general flood preparation advice as given on the Floodline Web site. Move valuables to the highest position possible (first floors or higher). Seal important documents, photographs and similar in plastic bags. Keep your insurance documents somewhere safe, with a list of useful phone numbers (Floodline, your local council, your insurance company and the emergency services), a torch, a mobile phone (if possible), a first aid kit, a radio, wellington boots, rubber gloves, disinfectant, soap, towels, bottled water and any necessary medication. Make plans for where and when to meet family members in the case of a flood and for what to do with any domestic animals (either moving them to a safer area or keeping them in an upstairs room). If possible, move motor vehicles out of the area onto higher ground. Restock your supplies.

After a flood, always clean and disinfect everything that has potentially come into contact with the floodwaters before using them, to avoid potential infections or other illnesses (see Cleaning up and disinfection) and open doors and windows to ventilate your home (see Pumping and drying out).

20 November 2002