The Environment Agency provides a 24-hour Floodline service, which allows you to check if your property is at risk, call 0345 988 1188 or 0845 988 1188.
The Environment Agency issues flood warnings to local authorities and emergency services if there is a risk of flooding. Watch out for the following warnings on TV, or on the The Environment Agency website:
Flooding possible Be aware! Be prepared! Watch out
Flood warning Flooding of homes, businesses and main roads is expected. Act now!
Severe flood warning Severe flood is expected. Imminent danger to life and property. Act now!
All clear All clear is issued when flood watches or warnings are no longer in force. Flood water levels receding. Check all is safe to return. Seek advice.
Protecting your home from flooding
Many homes in England are at risk of flooding.
You can help to protect yourself, your home and your community by taking three simple steps.
check your postcode and find out if you are at risk of flooding
sign-up for free flood warnings
view and save the three point flood plan so you know how to Prepare. Act. Survive in a flood
Check your level of insurance cover by asking your insurer the following questions:
Is my property insured against flood damage?
Does my cover provide me with temporary accommodation?
Will any necessary clean up or repairs to my property be taken care of?
How much compensation will I receive to cover any damages to my property and contents?
Store important documents in waterproof containers or sealed plastic bags and put them at the highest part of the property. Valuable documents may include:
Find out how to turn off your gas and electricity from the mains
Electrical appliances which can be lifted should be unplugged and moved to the safest and highest part of the property
Large appliances such as washing machines, tumble dryers, cookers, fridges, freezers that are too heavy to move should be unplugged and disconnected from their pipe work and raised off the floor using bricks and blocks
Large appliances should be kept away from walls. This will speed up the drying out process after a flood has occurred
Roll up any small carpets or rugs and place at the highest part of the property
Empty out the contents of any furniture that cannot be moved and place the contents high up
Raise any furniture that cannot be moved using bricks or blocks
Weigh down any items that cannot be raised as this will prevent any movement in the floodwater
Outside your property
Ladders, garden furniture and any other items that could become damaged or float away should be secured down
Animals should be brought indoors or if you're property is being evacuated, animals should be prepared so that they can be removed quickly
Move vehicles to higher land where possible
Emergency flood pack
Prepare an emergency flood pack containing items that you might need should a flood occur. The flood pack should be stored in a place that is safe, easy to reach and should include:
A list of useful phone numbers
Home and car keys
A torch and spare batteries
Blankets and warm clothing
Waterproof clothing, including rubber gloves
A first aid kit, including sanitary supplies and any prescribed medication
Portable radio with spare batteries
Dealing with flood problems
Avoid contact with flood water. Infection problems resulting from floods in this country are rare, but it is important to take precautions. If you are cleaning up flood damage, wear rubber gloves and disposable protective clothing and wash your hands afterwards. Keep any open cuts covered with waterproof plasters and prevent them being exposed to floodwaters.
Do not let children or pets play in or around flood water, gullies or mud caused by the floods - they don't know how deep the water is, and there may be hidden dangers.
Food and floods
Do not eat any food or drink that has been touched by flood water as this will not be safe to consume. Do not eat any produce grown on an allotment or garden that has been flooded, unless it has been cooked.
Wash your hands before and after preparing food. Use clean water, detergent, then a normal kitchen disinfectant, clean and disinfect work surfaces, plates, pans, cutlery, and plastic/glass chopping boards. If you have a working dishwasher, this is best for smaller items.
If your pots and pans have been touched by flood water, they should be cleaned and disinfected. You should dispose of wooden chopping boards if they are touched by flood water.
Keep children and pets out of affected areas until the clean-up is complete. Wash your hands thoroughly after every clean-up session.
Clean all affected surfaces like walls, hard-surfaced floors and furniture with hot soapy water and allow to dry thoroughly.
More information on cleaning up, drying out, cleaning household items, clothing and bedding and tackling any problems with mould can be found at Public Health England. Those with no internet access may phone the Council Helpline on 0191 427 7000.
Remember that petrol or diesel generators or other fuel-driven equipment should not be brought indoors. The exhaust gases contain carbon monoxide, which can quickly build to poisonous levels without good ventilation.
Please put any food or perishable items that have been touched by flood water into black bin bags, separately from any other household waste, place it outside the front of your home or business and phone the Council's Helpline on 0191 427 7000 to arrange for it to be collected.
If you have damaged white goods (fridges, freezers etc), carpets or other major household items to dispose of, please call our helpline on 0191 427 7000. Do not put them outside before arranging for collection - if they are taken by scrap men rather than official Council services, this could make it difficult for you to claim on your insurance later.
If your business has been affected
Businesses that have been affected by adverse conditions and require advice and assistance from South Tyneside Council should call the Customer Contact Centre on 0191 427 7000. The Customer Contact Centre will be able to direct your call to the most appropriate department.
Food related businesses - Businesses who are a registered purveyor of foodstuffs will need to ensure that all food preparation, packing and serving areas meet the necessary environmental health standards. We ask that all who think that they may have been affected by floods check the working condition of all food storage areas including fridges and freezers, even those that are currently working. All clean downs should be thorough and made with appropriate disinfectants or sanitiser. For foodstuffs that require disposal following exposure to flood water or that have been affected by a detrimental change in storage conditions, please contact the Environmental Health Team on 0191 424 7903 to arrange for the necessary condemnation forms to be provided so that insurance claims can be made.
If your property has been flooded, it is important to contact a suitably qualified and registered person to make appropriate safety checks before trying to use any electricity or gas.
It is unlikely that utility services will be affected but should you have any concerns, contact your gas, electricity and water providers directly.
Infection problems from floods in this country are rare, but it is important to take precautions. Wash hands frequently and always before meals. Parents with infants affected by diarrhoea or vomiting should seek medical advice.
Do not let children play on affected paved or concreted areas until they have been cleaned. Sunlight and soil help to destroy harmful bacteria so it is usually safe to play on grass a week or so after the floodwater has gone.
If you or one of your family feel unwell and think it may have been caused by contact with flood water, contact your GP or phone NHS Direct on 0845 4647.
If you need to take regular medicines and you have had to leave them behind in your home, phone NHS Direct on 0845 4647 for advice.