Renfrewshire Council

Prepare for flooding

How to prepare for flooding, Flood warnings, Make a family flood plan, What to do during a flooding incident, Our priorities during a flooding incident, If we need to evacuate, What to do after a flooding incident, Cleaning up after flooding

How to prepare for flooding
Flood warnings
Make a family flood plan
What to do during a flooding incident
Our priorities during a flooding incident
If we need to evacuate
What to do after a flooding incident
Cleaning up after flooding

How to prepare for flooding

  • Find out whether your house or area is liable to flooding. Visit the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) website and enter your postcode to see a map showing the flood risk to your area. You can also check with neighbours, or at the local library, if there has been any previous instances of flooding.
  • Make a list of useful numbers, such as the local council, emergency services, your insurance company, and keep somewhere you'll find them easily
  • Make up a flood kit, with a torch, battery radio, warm clothing, wellingtons, rubber gloves, medications, insurance policy and other useful things, and keep it in a box in a safe place
  • Find out where and how to turn off your gas and electricity now. Don't leave it until it's too late. If you are having difficulty ask the person who checks your meter next time they call, or ask your neighbours. Mark the tap or switch with a sticker to remind you.
  • Have emergency provisions ready and put them upstairs if you can.
  • Check and keep outside drains clear to let surface water escape and if possible, direct water flow away from property.
  • Check with your insurance company that you have adequate cover. They will also provide you with advice on reducing flood damage.

You can find more advice on preparing for flooding on the Floodline Scotland website.

Flood warnings

You can check flood updates and sign up for updates on the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) website.

You can also check any expected flooding over the next three days by using the Scottish Flood Forecast

Or check with the Floodline Service on 0345 988 1188 for localised information and advice.

If the risk of flooding increases:

  • Watch what's happening. Keep an eye on the weather, and on what other people are doing.
  • Alert your neighbours, especially anyone who may be vulnerable
  • Move pets to a place of safety
  • Take supplies, including food, upstairs if you can

Make a family flood plan

Write your plan so that the following questions are all answered in it.

  • Do you all understand the Flood Warning system for your area?
  • Do you all know how to find out more?
  • Do you all know how to contact each other?
  • Do you all know where the 'Flood Box' is?
  • Do you all know how to turn off the gas and electricity?
  • Do you all know who in the neighbourhood may need your help?
  • Do you all know where you would be evacuated to?
  • Do your neighbours know your plan?

Make sure the plan outlines the actions you should take to safeguard yourselves and your property.

  • practice the plan before you need to use it
  • keep the plan safe, but easy to find

Don't assume everybody in the house knows what to do. Practice your plan regularly.

What to do during a flooding incident

You should:

  • Do not leave your home unless you have to.
  • Work with emergency services and local authorities - you may be evacuated to a rest centre.
  • Keep alert. Things can change very quickly. Keep an eye on the weather and listen for more information on the radio. If you hear advice or instructions, do exactly what they tell you and try to make sure your neighbours know what's going on
  • If you are trapped by flooding, stay by a window and try to attract attention.
  • If you are evacuated, remember your medication and essential supplies. You may be away for some time.
  • Don't attempt to drive through floodwater. As well as the risk of breaking down, your vehicle may well obstruct the road for emergency services.
  • Do not switch on gas and/or electricity supplies until they have been inspected.
  • Do not use food which has been in contact with flood water
  • Don't walk on sea defences, riverbanks or cross river bridges - they may collapse in extreme situations or you may be swept off by large waves. Beware of stones and pebbles being thrown up by waves.

Our priorities during a flooding incident

In severe weather conditions such as flooding, deep snow, ice and gales, the council and the emergency services can be affected or overwhelmed.

Our priority is to act immediately on any threat or danger to life and we work closely with the emergency services in sharing our resources, and we must keep essential roads open for emergency services to use.

We will have teams on site at known hotspots to clear standing water and clear drains that have been overwhelmed.

Winter floods are often accompanied by severe gale force winds so we may have teams of workers out taking down dangerous trees or clearing fallen trees in addition to working to clear flooding.

If we need to evacuate

Evacuation from an area by the emergency services or the council is only done where absolutely necessary. It usually means that utility services failures are going to be long and that the temperatures are low enough to cause concern for the health of the young, infirm and the elderly.

If you are asked to move from your home, please do so quickly, taking as few items as possible, but ensure that you have all medication required by your family members. Switch off gas and electricity - even if the supply has failed and lock up the house.

In the event of evacuation, we will set up a rest centre close by to accommodate you, which will be warm and dry and where refreshments, food and support will be provided. You may have to stay overnight, or at least until it is possible to return safely to your home.

We will register you and your family and any special needs or concerns will be noted at the rest centre, so that we can better support and assist you.

What you should do after a flooding incident

After a flooding incident, you should:

  • Safely throw away food which has been in contact with flood water - it could be contaminated. Contact your local authority Environmental Health department for advice.
  • Open doors and windows to ventilate your home.
  • Clean your taps with disinfectant and let the water run for several minutes.
  • Call your insurance company's (24 hour) Emergency Helpline as soon as possible. They will be able to provide information on dealing with your claim, and assist in getting things back to normal.
  • Keep a record of the flood damage (especially photographs or video footage), make notes of all phone calls to insurers and what was said, and retain correspondence with insurers after the flood.
  • Commission immediate emergency pumping/repair work, if necessary, to protect your property from further damage. Check with your insurance company beforehand that you can do this.
  • Get advice where detailed, lengthy repairs are needed. Your insurer or loss adjuster can give advice on reputable contractors / tradesmen. Beware of bogus tradesmen and always check references.
  • Check with your insurer if you have to move into alternative accommodation as the cost is normally covered under a household policy, and make sure your insurance company knows where to contact you if you have to move out of your home.

Cleaning up after flooding

  • Stay safe as the ground and buildings may not be as secure
  • Look for suppliers of cleaning materials or equipment to dry out your property. It takes a house brick about one month per inch to dry out
  • Restock your supplies.