What to do if a flood happens

To report flooding, telephone 0300 2000 100. This number is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When you ring, staff will take your details and contact the right agency on your behalf.

Emergency financial payments

If your home is flooded due to heavy rainfall, you can contact the local council and ask about  their emergency payments scheme.

A householder could receive £1, 000.  The payment is to make a home fit to live in as quickly as possible. It is not compensation.

Inspection of your property

The council will inspect your property. If your claim is eligible, you will receive your payment within days.

Help from the council

The council can also give practical help and guidance, including:

  • collection, retention and disposal of damaged household contents
  • help with arrangements to clean up your home and garden
  • providing de-humidifiers to dry affected homes

Belfast City Council has a special freephone number:

Flood warning - what to do

If flooding is forecast in your area, it means that you can expect flooding of low lying land and roads. You should check local news and weather forecasts and water levels near you. Be prepared to put into action any plans you have made to deal with flooding in your area including:

  • moving cars, pets, food, valuables and important documents to safety
  • put flood protection equipment in place
  • turn off gas, electricity and water supplies if it’s safe to do so
  • be prepared to evacuate your home

Try to stop any water from entering your home by:

  • using sandbags and floodboards to prevent water entering through doors and windows
  • sealing airbricks with plastic covers or cloths/towels
  • putting plugs in sinks and baths and weighing them down with a sandbag, pillowcase or a plastic bag filled with garden soil, or a heavy object

If you don’t have valves fitted which allow flow of water in one direction (non-return valves) you should:

  • plug water inlet pipes with towels or cloths
  • turn off any equipment that uses water (like washing machines and dishwashers)
  • collect the things you need for evacuation
  • stay in a high place with a means of escape
  • avoid electricity sources
  • avoid walking or driving through flood water
  • call 999 immediately if you are in danger

Evacuation

If you are told to evacuate your home by the emergency services you should do so.

Refusing to leave on their advice will put you, your family and those trying to help you at risk.

When flooding has abated you should:

  • listen to weather reports and only return to evacuated buildings if you are told it is safe to do so
  • beware of sharp objects and pollution in flood water
  • contact your insurance company and ask their advice before starting to clean up if your property or belongings are damaged

Flood advice is available in the following link:

Health precautions around flooding

Flooding can contain pollutants which can adversely affect the health and well being of a person coming into contact with them.

Combat this by applying basic hygiene precautions, including:

  • washing hands after exposure
  • decontaminating footwear by washing and treating with a mild disinfectant
  • keeping children and pets out of the contaminated area

Where sewage is clearly visible in flood waters, or in material deposited by flood waters, decontamination should involve:

  • removing excess liquid (pumping/sweeping)
  • a thorough clean up to remove any debris or fecal contamination
  • leaving the contaminated areas to dry
  • applying a mild disinfectant

Industry tests show that disinfectants should remove all traces of bacteria within 24 to 48 hours.

Electricity

If any electrical wiring has come into contact with flood water, a qualified electrician will need to check the safety of the system, and the safety of appliances.

Householders can contact Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE)  24 hours a day for advice :

Insurance

Contact your home insurance company as soon as possible. They may offer advice about replacement or cleansing damaged items.

External flooding

If there was flooding to gardens, paved areas and other external areas:

  • you can clean and disinfect patios and driveways  but keep off these areas for three hours after disinfection
  • it is not usual to disinfect cultivated areas as this can kill plants, if you do, use a very mild disinfectant 
  • don't hose the garden as this will saturate the ground and prolong the life of the bacteria
  • do not dig or rake the affected area as this will spread contamination further into the soil where lack of light will prolong the life of bacteria
  • it is best to let nature take its course as ultra violet radiation in sunlight is very effective in killing bacteria

Compensation claims

For compensation claims about water, sewerage, other actions or operations by NI Water Ltd,  you can ask for a claim form:

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