What to do if there is a flood warning
If flooding is forecast in your area, you can expect flooding of low lying land and roads. You should check local news, 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 such as:
- moving cars, pets, food, valuables and important documents to safety
- putting flood protection equipment in place
- turning off gas, electricity and water supplies if it’s safe to do so
- evacuating your home
To stop water entering your home:
- use sandbags and floodboards to prevent water entering through doors and windows
- seal airbricks with plastic covers.,cloths or towels
- put 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
- Household flood plan
If you are told to evacuate your home by the emergency services you should do so.
Refusing to leave on their advice puts you, your family and people 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
- Managing the risk of flooding (DfI website)
- Homeowner Flood Protection Grant Scheme
Health precautions around flooding
Flooding can contain pollutants which can adversely affect your health and well being.
If you were in flood water, you should:
- wash your hands after exposure
- decontaminate footwear by washing and treating with a mild disinfectant
- keep 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
Disinfectants should remove all traces of bacteria within 24 to 48 hours.
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 :
- telephone: 03457 643 643
- minicom: 03457 147 128
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Customer service contact details - NIE website
Contact your home insurance company as soon as possible. They may offer advice about replacement or cleansing damaged items.
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
For compensation claims about water or sewerage, ask or NI Water Ltd for a claim form:
- 0845 744 0088
- Northern Ireland Water
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.
Inspecting your property
The council will inspect your property. If your claim is eligible, you will receive your payment within days.
Help from the council if your home was flooded
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