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23 July 2014

Flooding Preparation Advice

Surrey Heath will try to assist residents during a flood event but the priority of need and the status of the roads will dictate how the available resources are utilised. If your property is flooding then nearby roads may also be flooded or impassable which will hinder our ability to get help to you. If you know your property is at risk from flood (located within a flood plain or known problem area) then it is highly recommended that you take some measures to protect your property.

Prepare sandbags
You can typically get 3 types of sandbag from suppliers, made for various applications. Your local builder's merchant should be able to supply you with the materials required and all sandbags should be filled with sharp sand.

  • Hessian bags - are usually brown and can rot relatively quickly. They are usually sufficient for the duration of a flood event but are unlikely to last once they have been wet. They should be stored dry and empty for best results.
  • Treated Hessian bags - are usually green and will rot down at a slower rate than the untreated bags. Again, they are unlikely to be able to be used more than once unless in quick succession and should be stored dry and empty.
  • Polypropylene bags - usually white and less susceptible to the rot experienced with hessian bags. They have the ability to be used more than once however, they are affected by sunlight which can degrade them. Polypropylene bags can be stored ready filled as long as they are covered or kept away from sunlight.

Personal property protection measures
Various types of property protection are available, from artificial dams to boards for blocking doorways. A resident is allowed to protect their home and outbuildings from flood but not necessarily the land they own.

Please be advised that, due to the associated problems, protection of land is not permitted without express written consent from Surrey Heath Borough Council and Surrey County Council. All overland flood routes need to be maintained and failure to notify of any major changes to land may result in the flooding of neighbouring properties for which the landowner could be held liable. Be careful that the work you do to protect your property does not compromise any other properties.

It is the choice of the residents to decide which products are the best to protect their home but, in all cases, it is advisable to look for the official British Standard kite marked products which have met the standards of the industry.

For further information on flood protection products the National Flood Forum Opens in a new window offers a useful guide of products and advice on their website.

If you need assistance during a flood

The Environment Agency

The Environment Agency is able to provide real-time information and advice regarding flooding. They also offer further advice and updates on their website. Opens in a new window

Floodline 0345 9881188

Surrey Heath Borough Council
Surrey Heath will try to assist although resources are limited and will be severely stretched during a serious flood event. DO try to provide a level of protection for yourself and be prepared.

Surrey Heath switchboard (including out of hours service) 01276 707100.

Surrey County Council
Surrey County will try to assist during a flood although the area covered is much larger than the Surrey Heath borough. Surrey County will be primarily looking after the road network to maintain safe routes for the emergency services.

Surrey County switchboard (including out of hours service) 03456 009 009

Surrey County also has a Report it Opens in a new window link on their website where residents can pass on details of any flooding

Emergency Services
In the case of an emergency the Police, Fire and Rescue and Ambulance services are there to help.

Post Flooding Advice
If you are unfortunate to experience flooding to your property there are some general points to consider.

Make a record of the flood
Try to detail how the flood happened. Flood water can rise and recede very quickly so a timeline of events, and photos of the flooding, can help insurers to understand and validate any claim.

Contact your insurers
Your insurer is likely to want certain details to be provided and evidence of the problems experienced. Take advice from them regarding anything they may require and their preferred method of drying out your house, sometimes drying too quickly can significantly worsen the damage.

Retain damaged goods
You may need evidence of the items damaged by the flood. Try to store all items for possible inspection by your insurers, prior to disposal.

Discard any food
Food which has been in contact with flood water will certainly be contaminated. The water of a flood can contain pollutants from near-by land run-off and surcharge from sewers, including the foul drainage system. Record items as advised by your insurer.

Mains water
Mains water supplies should be safe for use. Run the water for a few minutes before use and, if in doubt, check with your water supply company. There may be a need to consider boiling any drinking water until clearance is given by your water company.

Get expert advice
Don't turn on gas or electricity supplies without checks being undertaken by a competent person. Ask your insurer for advice about re-commissioning supplies and checking any appliances which may have been affected.

Beware of traders/builders/workmen
Anybody who cold-calls on residents shortly after flooding to offer repairs, or other services, should not be taken on face value. Surrey Heath does not instruct any contractor to undertake clear up work for payment by residents, and your insurer may have particular contractors they wish you to use. The cleaning of roads and public areas will be carried out by the council and in no cases would a resident be asked to contribute to this work. Floods can attract rogue traders/callers.


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