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Flooding

The River Wye in Hereford flooded during February 2020

Over the last few years, Herefordshire has been affected by severe and repeated flooding, the impact of which can be devastating for both residents and businesses.

Flooding can occur anywhere, not just near rivers and streams, and as it tends to happen quickly and often unexpectedly, it can be difficult to predict how severe it will be.

The following information is intended to help you prepare for flooding and know what to do during and after a flood.
 

Preparing for flooding

Check and sign up for local flood warnings.  You can get updates from different sources, including the Environment Agency and Met Office.

If there’s a risk of flooding, let your neighbours know, especially if they’re older or more vulnerable.

Prepare an emergency kit and make sure everyone knows where it is, in case you need to leave in a hurry.

If you live in a flood risk area, try to keep a stock of sandbags or other flood prevention devices ready, such as demountable flood barriers, as they’ll be in high demand, once a flood warning is issued.  Sandbags, for example, can be used around the outside of your property, to help divert water and prevent or reduce floodwater damage or placed in sinks, baths and toilets to help stop water and sewage backflow.  

Try to move vehicles to higher ground, so they won’t be caught in rising floodwater.

Remember to take photographs inside and outside your home, as these may help support any insurance claims.

If it’s safe to do so, always turn your gas and electricity supply off at the mains, before you leave.  You risk being electrocuted in floodwater, if your electricity remains switched on.

Shut and lock all windows and doors, as this will help protect your property and may reduce the volume of floodwater entering into it.

Don’t forget to take your pets with you too, so they’re not trapped by rising water.

Take a look at our be prepared in case of an emergency page for additional advice on family plans, emergency numbers and having an emergency kit ready.
 

During a flood

Always follow information and advice from emergency services and Herefordshire Council.  You can also follow individual organisations on social media, to keep up to date with the latest news, such as road closures and affected areas.

If you’re severely affected by flooding, emergency services will assist you to safely leave your home.  If you don’t have anywhere else to stay, Herefordshire Council can arrange temporary accommodation for you in a rest centre within the county.

Don't walk, swim or drive through floodwater.  As little as six inches of fast-flowing water can knock you over and two feet of water is enough to make a car float.  It may also be contaminated with sewage, so if you’re exposed, make sure you wash yourself and your clothes thoroughly in clean water.

If you experience problems with your gas or electricity supply, you can contact National Grid on 105 for a power cut and 0800 111 999 for a gas emergency.

If you see flooding anywhere in the county, you can report it on Herefordshire Council’s website.
 

After a flood

Always check with the emergency services, that it’s safe to return home.

Don’t turn your gas and electricity back on until they’ve been checked by a qualified expert.  If you smell gas or you’re worried about gas or electrical safety, you can contact National Grid on 105 for electricity problems and 0800 111 999 for gas problems.

Remember to contact your insurance company as soon as possible, as they can often help with the clean up process, especially if structural repairs are needed.  Don’t forget to also take photographs of any damage, as these may be needed to support a claim.  If you haven’t got insurance, the National Flood Forum will be able to offer advice and support.  You can contact them at info@floodforum.org.uk or 01299 403055.

When cleaning your home after a flood, always wear appropriate clothing, including gloves, goggles, face mask and waterproof rubber boots.  Make sure you wash yourself and your clothes thoroughly afterwards.  If you’re using heaters or dehumidifiers to dry your property, make sure there’s good ventilation and never use petrol or diesel-powered generators indoors, as their exhaust gases are potentially lethal.

Don’t eat any food that’s been touched by flood water and if your electricity’s off, don’t eat fresh food from a fridge after 4 hours or from a freezer after 24 hours.

Take a look at Herefordshire Council’s website too, as they provide information and advice on available financial support and cleaning up assistance.
 

Emotional support

If you’ve been affected by flooding, you may need some additional emotional and wellbeing support. 

Samaritans provide support, information and someone to talk to 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

WISH has details of local and national organisations, which can help provide mental health and emotional wellbeing information, advice and support.
 

Local companies

The following local companies can provide equipment to help you prepare for or clean up after flooding.  Please contact them directly for pricing and availability and remember to check with your insurance company, before you start cleaning up.

Best at hire in Ledbury can supply pumps, heaters, dryers and dehumidifiers.

Discovery Tool & Plant Hire in Leominster can provide heaters and dehumidifiers.

Eagle Plant in Hereford can provide dehumidifiers and heaters.

Jewson in Hereford and Leominster can provide heaters and dehumidifiers.

National Tool Hire in Ledbury can provide dryers, dehumidifiers and heaters.

Radbournes in Hereford can supply sandbags.

Speedy in Hereford can provide dryers, dehumidifiers and heaters.
 

Local information

Herefordshire Council has some really useful information to help you prepare for flooding, report a flood and what to do after a flood, including how to get financial assistance and reusing or disposing of sandbags.
 

National information

Blue Pages provide a directory of property flood products and services for residents and businesses.

The British Red Cross provide useful information to help you prepare for flooding.

The Environment Agency provide current flood warnings, flood risk maps and you can also check a property’s flooding history.

Flood Re is a joint initiative between the Government and insurers, which aims to make the flood cover part of household insurance policies more affordable.

The Government offer information and advice on flooding and how to sign up for flood warnings.

The Met Office provide up to date weather forecasts, warnings and seasonal advice.

The National Flood Forum is a UK charity, which helps to support those at risk of flooding.

Public Health England provide advice and information about what you can do if flooding has affected your mental health and wellbeing.