Renfrewshire Council

Prepare for flooding

How to prepare for flooding, flood warnings, make a family flood plan, what to do during and after a flooding incident, cleaning up after flooding.

How to prepare for flooding

Find out whether your house or area is liable to flooding. Check with neighbours, or at the local library, or visit the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) website and enter your postcode to see a map showing the flood risk to your area.

Check with your insurance company that you have adequate cover. They will also provide you with advice on reducing flood damage.

Make a list of useful numbers, such as the local council, emergency services, your insurance company, and keep somewhere you'll find them easily. 

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.

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

Do not assume everybody in the house knows what to do. Write a Family Flood Plan and practice it.

Flood warnings

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

Or check with the Floodline Service on 08459 88 11 88 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 any vulnerable ones.
  • Move pets to a place of safety.
  • Take your thermos and food upstairs if you can.
  • Check on your neighbours.

Ensure gas, electricity and water supplies are switched off.

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 by all of you.

What to do during a flooding incident

You should:

  • Co-operate with emergency services and local authorities - you may be evacuated to a rest centre.
  • Do not leave your home unless you have to.
  • 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. Make sure your neighbours know what's going on.
  • Don't walk on sea defences, riverbanks or cross river bridges if possible - 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.
  • If you are trapped by flooding stay by a window and try to attract attention.
  • If you are evacuated remember medication and essential supplies. You may be away for some time!
  • 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.

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.
  • 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

  • Find out where you can get help to clean up. In the first instance look under 'Flood Damage' in Yellow Pages 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.
  • Don't attempt to dry out photos or papers - place them in a plastic bag, and if possible store them in the fridge.
  • Restock your supplies.