Keep a list of useful numbers available and covered to protect from possible water damage. Contacts such as: Surrey Heath Borough Council, Surrey County Council, the emergency services, your insurance company and Environment Agency Floodline are useful; along with any personal contact details for friends or family.
Have some protection measures handy for immediate use such as sandbags or boards which are able to block doorways or air bricks and reduce the potential damage to your home.
Make up a Flood Kit, including a torch, blankets, waterproof clothing, wellingtons, a portable radio, first aid kit (including any daily medication), rubber gloves, reflective vest and key personal information such as basic bank number details to ensure you can cover any incidental costs. If possible, keep your flood kit upstairs or in an accessible point where flood water is unlikely to reach.
Talk about possibilities of flooding with friends, family or those you live with and discuss methods of contacting each other during a flood. Consider writing a Flood Plan to ensure your property is left secure and valuables are safe, and store these notes with your Flood Kit.
Make sure you know where to turn off your gas and electricity. Services to your property may be affected by flooding at another location possibly leaving supplies or connections disrupted. Try to retain some form of communication for use during power loss (i.e. mobile phone).
Think about your vehicle. Where can you move it to in the event of a Flood Warning? Vehicles may need to be driven some distance to get to higher ground without causing obstructions to the highway. Consider your neighbours; they could be in a similar position but have less preparation or may be less able to manage.
Any high ground or structure (wall, fence etc.) within the property boundary could be considered as a temporary safe place to leave items above flood water during evacuation. Thought should be given into how quick flood water can rise and how little time is available to save your possessions to a safe distance.
Put plugs into sinks, basins and showers. Weighing them down with something heavy will reduce risk of back flow from flooded sewers.
Move anything outside that is not fixed down, into a safer location. Dustbins, flower pots and other garden products may float away in flood water. Special attention should be given to any rubbish, chemicals or similar fluid or floating debris which can block water outfall points (gullies, watercourses etc.) or pollute waterways.
Manhole/inspection covers can be moved by flood water or the back up of flooded sewer system. Covers should be weighed down with heavy plant pots or bricks to prevent them floating away and leaving a hazardous hole which can be invisible when walking through flood water. It can be helpful to make a note of where covers are, they may be needed to help remove flood water from your property.
Pets in the household will need to be removed during a flood. Pets may need cages or a collar and lead to be comfortably managed away from the property. Thought should be given to controlling your pets in case you have to undertake other work to help protect your property. Pets will also need food, shelter and to continue any medication they may be on.
If a property is unable to be accessed for some time then nearby facilities (kennels, cattery etc.) may need to be used to look after your pets. Keep details available within your flood kit to ensure your pets being cared for.
Get into the habit of storing valuable or sentimental personal belongings upstairs or in a high place downstairs, preferably above any possible flood level so you do not forget to move them in the case of a flood.
Think about any medication you may take or personal hygiene items you will need. In the event of a flood you may not be able to return to your property for some time so ensure you have everything available or know ways of replacing them.
Keep your most important personal documents in a sealed bag, preferably in a location safe from floodwater.
Services (gas, electricity, water and telecoms)
Turn off gas, electricity and water supplies at the mains (if it is safe to do so).
Unplug any electrical items and move upstairs or as high up as possible. Do not attempt to remove plugs from their sockets if a property is flooded and the electricity is still on.
Telecoms (telephone, internet etc.) may be controlled by a local hub which could also be affected by flood. No telephone communication can be guaranteed to be working during a flood. Mobile phones can be used but can also suffer from network issues during a flood. Remember to keep phones charged.
Furniture and appliances
Although furniture and appliances can be expensive they are usually replaceable and should be the last item considered for saving. If items are at risk of being damaged by flood water, and can be placed any higher within a reasonable time, then efforts should be made to limit this damage. However, no item of furniture is worth your life, ensure you and all other occupants are safe before attempting to move large items.
Move as much furniture and electrical items as you can to a higher level. Alternatively raising up on bricks or blocks may be very helpful for large or heavy appliances such as washing machines or fridge/freezers.
Move large furniture away from walls as flood water will rise up the wall behind. This may help some items to survive during a brief flood and will assist with drying your property later.
If you have time, try to roll up rugs and move to a higher level. Carpets damaged by flood cannot usually be cleaned effectively. Wooden or laminate type floors are unlikely to survive.
Protect curtains, nets or blinds by removing or hanging them up over the rail so they are kept above the flood water.
Leave all internal doors open or, ideally, remove them and store them at a higher level.
The Environment Agency provides an updated service throughout any flood incident. They offer advice through their website http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk or by contacting Floodline 08459 88 11 88
Remember, you can call Floodline at any time, day or night, for real-time warnings and advice.
08459 88 11 88