Storm Desmond has battered the UK bringing severe flooding and devastation to many homes.

How can I prepare for a flood in my home?

Flooded roads in Appleby in Cumbria, as Storm Desmond hits the UK. Credit: PA
  • Move furniture and electrical items to safety

  • Put flood boards, polythene and sandbags in place to seal gaps

  • Turn off electricity, water and gas supplies

  • Roll up carpets and rugs

  • Move your car out of the flood risk area

  • Place important documents inside polythene bags and move them to safety

Who does what during a flood?

The Environment Agency:

  • Issues flood warnings

  • Deal with emergency repairs and blockages on main rivers

  • Responds to pollution incidents

Local authorities and district councils:

People watch waves close to the harbour wall at Porthcawl, South Wales, as Storm Desmond hits the UK. Credit: PA
  • Maintain safe conditions in the road

  • Put flood warning signs on the highways

  • Organise road closures and traffic diversions

  • Clear blockages on highway draining systems

  • Distribute sandbags

Fire and Rescue Service:

  • Rescue

  • Respond to emergency incidents as required

Water companies:

  • Clear blockages in public sewers


  • Take overall responsibility for co-ordinating during an incident

The environment agency offers a free flood warning service which sends you a direct message when flooding is expected and may affect your property. Sign up for the Floodline Warnings Direct service here.

What should I do during a flood?

Residents evacuate their homes in Appleby in Cumbria Credit: PA

The main advice is to focus on the safety of yourself and your family. If you have not had time to prepare, work with the people around you and do the following as soon as possible:

  • Switch off your electricity and gas

  • DO NOT touch sources of electricity when standing in flood water

  • Move your family and pets upstairs, or to a high place with a means of escape

  • Try and install flood protection items to seal gaps

  • Check in with vulnerable neighbours and relatives

  • Move important items to safety

Flood water is dangerous. Protect yourself.

A stranded car in Kendal Credit: Twitter / @fellsman60
  • Try and avoid walking or driving through it

  • Keep children and vulnerable people away from it

  • Wash your hands thoroughly if you touch it

What should I do after a flood?

  • Take care when cleaning up. Flood water can contain sewage chemicals and animal waste. Always wear waterproofs, a face mask and some welly boots.

  • Take pictures of the damage

  • You can get water out of your property using a pump and generator, but only do so when the levels outside are lower than inside. This will reduce structural damage.

  • Contact your insurance company: ask how long they will take to come around

  • Mark the level the water reached with a pen: this will enable your insurer to check for potential structural damage.

Useful numbers: