What to do after a flood

If your property floods, it's important to know what to do, to help you get back to normal as quickly as possible after a flood.

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Things you may want to consider doing after a flood emergency to help reduce the risk to you, your family and property, and to decrease the time and cost of recovery.  


If you, or someone you know needs support, please contact your local district council.

Consider if there is a risk of further floods in the immediate future

Following a flood event, consider if there is the risk of another flood in the near future. You can do this by following weather reports or being signed up to flood alerts (if available). 

If there is a risk of further flooding, it is advised that you do not begin the recovery process until the threat has gone completely. You may wish to use this time to try and prepare your property and make good any flood defences where water could enter. 

If nearby traffic is causing further flooding to your property by creating waves, contact Leicestershire Police on 101. 

Contact your insurance company as soon as possible 

Check your insurance policy and contact your insurance company immediately. The majority of household policies provide insurance cover for flooding, and they will guide you through all the relevant steps to ensure your claim remains valid as the process can be lengthy. 

If you are a tenant and have taken out contents insurance, household contents, fixtures and fittings should be covered. It is normally the responsibility of your landlord to provide building insurance. 

If you are uninsured, you will most likely be responsible for covering all costs of flood damage. Remember to keep records of flood damage (for example, photos, and to photograph any goods or furniture before disposing of them). 

It is worth speaking to a number of insurers and checking what cover they can offer. 

Also, you may want to find out more about Flood Re - a joint initiative between the Government and insurers, which aims to make the flood cover part of household insurance policies more affordable. 

Report a flood to the relevant authorities 

It is extremely important that all flood events are reported accurately and promptly to the appropriate risk management authority who is responsible for coordinating flood risk management in your area so that they

  • can have a clear picture of the impact and magnitude of the event, and
  • any potential future flood mitigation work can be targeted in the areas with the highest need.  

For more information, see our ‘Report a flood’ page. 

Re-enter your property only when it is safe to do so 

Please do not re-enter a property that has been flooded until you are absolutely sure it is safe to do so.  

There can be many hazards within a recently flooded property, which can pose a serious risk to you or others.  

Leicestershire Fire & Rescue may be able to help you with pumping flood water out of your house. If other people are affected, you may need to wait a little for this help. 

For more information on what to look for, please read through the Flood Hub’s guidance on re-entering a property and the Governments page on flooding and health advice

Record evidence of flooding 

Once it is safe for you to enter the property, it is advised that you record the impacts of the flooding to your property or belongings exactly how you find it and before you begin to clean up.  

Take lots of photos and videos of the areas and items impacted by the flooding, and if possible, 

  • from as many different angles as appropriate to show the full extent of the damage 

  • date stamp and clearly show the make/model or important details of items that were lost

  • don't dispose of damaged goods until insurers have said whether they want to inspect them

  • use a marker pen to draw a line on the walls, doors etc., to mark the depth of the water.  This is useful for your insurers, to assist builders in knowing how far back they may need to strip walls and plaster and for your Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) and other risk management authorities (RMAs) to clearly show the severity of the flooding and provide an indication of overall risk in more severe flood events.  

Get advice on cleaning up safely 

Before you begin cleaning up, it is strongly recommended that you: 

  • contact your insurer and follow their advice 
  • consider the source of flooding, and whether that floodwater is likely to contain biological or chemical contaminants that could severely impact your health (for example, sewer water or water which could have picked up hazardous materials such as pesticides, petroleum products etc.)  
  • call 111 for non-urgent health or safety concerns.   
  • contact your local district council environmental health team who can give you advice on clearing up if you have any doubts about it. 

You may require specialist cleaning operatives to undertake decontamination, however, if you are given the all clear to begin the recovery process yourself, it’s very important to do the following: 

  • before starting any clean-up, put on protective clothing, such as rubber gloves to move objects or clean surfaces that have been in contact with flood water, as the water will have been contaminated with sewage and other pollution. 
  • ventilate your house as much as you can after flooding - less damp is less damage. 
  • dehumidifiers can be used to collect moisture from the air and can aid in drying out a property. Water is collected in the dehumidifier and can be disposed of down regular water drains and sinks 
  • remove all soft furnishings and fittings that are damaged beyond repair from the property 
  • remove dirty water and silt from the property including the space under the ground floor if you have wooden floors 
  • wash down all hard surfaces with hot soapy water and a domestic disinfectant to wash over all hard surfaces after cleaning 
  • any clothing, bedding and other soft/fabric articles you want to keep should be washed at the highest temperature possible 
  • other soft furnishings that have been contaminated and cannot be put in a washing machine will have to be professionally cleaned if you want to keep them 
  • be aware of scammers – use registered tradespersons and contact your district council if you need help with removal of bulky items. Do not use people who are not registered waste carriers 

For further information, we recommend you follow the Government’s own guidance page on Cleaning your home safely

Ensure food preparation and storage areas are safe to use

We would recommend doing the following, to ensure that your food preparation and storage areas are safe to use after flooding:

  • dispose of any food that has been covered by or come into contact with flood water
  • clean using food-safe disinfectants, all surfaces and utensils that food will come into contact 
  • avoid food contact with work tops and other areas that show signs of damage
  • clean and thoroughly disinfect your fridge if it has been affected by flood water
  • thoroughly wash and rinse with hot soapy water all crockery, pots and pans before using. You could use a food safe disinfectant to sanitise them after cleaning
  • disposed of frozen food that has been at ambient temperature for a few hours - check with insurers before disposal
  • don't eat garden or allotment vegetables that have been covered by sewerage or flood water 
  • don't be tempted to try and salvage damaged food which includes any food in tins, as they may be contaminated with sewage and chemicals left from the flood water 

Find out more on the Food Standards Agency 'Food safety after a flood' page.

Ensure you have your medication and know how to request it in an emergency

If you need an emergency prescription outside of your GP practice’s normal opening hours you should complete an emergency medicine request through NHS111 online or call 111 to discuss options. 

If you require antibiotics or controlled drugs you will need to contact your practice. 

Know where to find emotional support

If you need any support after a flooding incident, volunteers at The British Red Cross can provide (where possible) free and confidential emotional support and signposting to local services. Call 0808 196 3651. 

British Red Cross support is available Monday to Friday. If you need help at the weekend contact The Samaritans.

Seek professional advice on structural damage and repairs

Seek professional advice from a structural engineer if your property is damaged. 

Make sure floorboards or damaged tiled floors are fully repaired as flood water may cause sharp edges of tiles or raised nails in the floorboards. 

Get a qualified plumber and electrician to check and connect appliances

Don't use electrical equipment that has been exposed to flood water until checked by a qualified electrician.

Get a qualified plumber and electrician to reconnect appliances.

Prepare for future floods 

Once you begin recovery of your property, you may want to consider how you can reduce the risk of internal flooding in the future. See our 'Prepare for flooding' page for more information.


Further reading