Preparing for flooding | Oxfordshire County Council

Preparing for flooding

What you can do in advance to prepare for flooding and minimise its effects.

One in six properties in the UK is at risk of flooding. Flooding can come from several sources:

  • rivers
  • groundwater
  • surface water (including snow melt)
  • sewage surcharges.

Find out if your property is at risk

Make sure you know if your property is at risk by checking the Environment Agency flood map.

Watch a video showing the different types of flooding and how flood prevention equipment can help protect your home from the devastating effects of flooding.

Flood warnings

If you are at risk you may be able to register for the Environment Agency’s free flood warnings service, via the website or by telephone. You can also check online for current Environment Agency flood warnings and Met Office weather warnings.

The Environment Agency use the following codes:

Flood Alert

Flooding is possible.
Be prepared.

Flood Warning

Flooding is expected.
Immediate action required.

Severe Flood Warning

Severe flooding.
Danger to life.

What you can do

  • Check your buildings and contents insurance policy to make sure you are covered for flooding, and to check you haven't underestimated the value of your home contents.
  • Make sure you know how to turn off your gas, electricity and water supplies. If you have any doubts you should ask your supplier for advice. Putting stickers on the taps and switches you need to turn off during a flood makes it easier to remember and quicker to do.
  • Think about what you will do with pets, cars, furniture, electrical equipment and garden furniture should you be affected by flooding.
  • Protect food and valuables by moving them upstairs.
  • Plug sinks and baths and put a sandbag in toilet bowls to prevent overflow.
  • If your home is prone to flooding, buy flood protection equipment in advance. The National Flood Forum has information on flood protection equipment. Sandbags are just one type of flood protection equipment which is available.

Make a household plan

Having a household plan can help you deal quickly and effectively in a stressful situation. Our 'Are you ready?' guide includes information on different types of emergency and a template for a Householder plan.


Last reviewed
11 July 2017
PrintPrint Give us feedback on this pageFeedback form, opens in new window.
Access key details Skip to main content Home News Sitemap Search Website help Complaints Terms and conditions Website feedback