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Council Services:

Flooding

The LRF works very closely with the Environment Agency and many other professional partners both in planning to reduce the effects of flooding and in the response to an incident.

The Environment Agency is responsible for flood warning in this country. Using the latest technology, staff monitor rainfall, river levels and sea conditions to forecast the possibility of flooding. If flooding is forecast, warnings are issued using a set of three easily recognisable codes, these are;

  • Flood Alert - A Flood Alert means that flooding is possible and that you need to be prepared.
  • Flood Warning means that flooding is expected and that you should take immediate action. You should take action when a flood warning is issued and not wait for a severe flood warning.
  • Severe Flood Warning - means that there is severe flooding and danger to life. These are issued when flooding is posing significant risk to life or disruption to communities.

More information can be found on the Environment Agency’s website or by telephoning Floodline on 0845 988 1188.

If you live in a flood risk area, then you should consider buying a stock of sandbags that would help to protect your property against flooding now. These can be purchased from building supplies merchants, prices may vary.

Remember, if a flood warning has been issued in your area, then you should tune in to BBC Radio Lincolnshire 94.9 FM or 104.7 FM in the Grantham area or Lincs FM 102.2 FM where up to the minute information will be made available.

Before a flood

Advice on preparing before a flood happens:

  • Be aware of the flooding risks to your property;
  • Make sure that you are insured, check with home contents and building insurers and seek their advice;
  • Be aware of the latest news, weather reports and any flood warning in force from the Environment Agency;
  • Make up a family flood plan. Make a flood kit, including a battery / wind up radio, torches, blankets, waterproof clothing, plastic gloves, first aid kit, camera, and any other personal documents or valuable possessions;
  • Ensure that you understand the flood warning system;
  • Prepare children’s essentials;
  • Safely store family medication;
  • If flooding is imminent, turn off gas, electricity and water at the mains;
  • Unplug electrical items and move them upstairs if possible;
  • Move furniture and any sentimental items upstairs if possible;
  • Install sandbags and / or flood boards to external doors, cover up airbricks;
  • Put sandbags on top of manholes;
  • Move your car to higher ground if possible;
  • If there are any vulnerable neighbours living nearby ensure that they are also prepared;
  • House gullies should be cleared of debris, leaves etc, to help flood water drain away;
  • Plug sinks/baths and put a sand bag in the toilet bowl to prevent backflow;
  • Ensure safety of pets and animals.

Confirm that you are properly insured under the terms and conditions of your insurance policy. The Association of British Insurers has advised that many householder’s (both buildings and contents) policies, comprehensive motor policies and many business policies do cover damage by flood water. In the event of flooding to your property inform your insurers that you need to submit a claim by telephoning the emergency help-line provided by your insurers and which will probably operate 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Then follow this general advice:

  • Damaged possessions should not be disposed of until your insurance company instructs you to do so;
  • Photographs or a video of the damage will assist your claim;
  • Take time in calculating your claim, how much work is required to be done, replacement requirements and the costs involved. If necessary seek technical advice;
  • Supervise your own repairs and building work wherever possible - do not rely on loss adjusters or insurance companies;
  • Try to employ a local builder if possible. Alternatively your insurer may be able to advise recommended builders in your area;
  • Please be aware of opportunist builders who have been known to move into areas following emergencies. If your need is urgent you may have no alternative, but do not agree to handing over money in advance, this should only be done when the job is completed to your satisfaction.

What support will I get from the local authorities?

The immediate response to a disaster is provided by the emergency services - Police, Fire and Rescue, and Ambulance service. Lincolnshire County Council and each District, City and Borough Council within the county has a plan for civil emergencies. In the case of flooding and where properties are flooded, District, City and Borough Councils will provide support and guidance to residents.

During a flood

Advice on what to do when flooding happens:

  • Keep listening to local radio;
  • Call the Environment Agency Floodline for advice Tel 0845 988 1188
  • Be prepared to co-operate with the emergency services ie in the event of evacuation;
  • Put plugs in the bath and sinks, put sandbags on top of them, place sandbags into toilets to prevent backflow and disconnect electrical appliances etc;
  • Try and move as much as possible upstairs, but don’t take any risks;
  • Think about your valuables which should include things that can’t be replaced such as treasured photographs and don’t forget your insurance policy!
  • If you do have to be evacuated from your property because of flooding make sure your premises are secure and don’t leave windows open in the hope it will help to dry out the property. Notify the Police that your property has been vacated;
  • Wait for floods to subside.

Emergency support centres

During a flooding incident it is possible that a number of people will be unable to remain in their homes. Depending on the situation the District, City and Borough Councils, in consultation with the emergency services and the County Council Emergency Planning Unit, may choose to open Rest Centres to accommodate the community that has been displaced.

If requested to evacuate follow the instructions of the Emergency Services, only take what is essential and do not put yourself or others at risk. If it is safe to do so it is advisable to take the following items with you:

  • Medication for you and your family members;
  • Extra clothing and a blanket;
  • Personal wash kit;
  • Household pets;
  • At least one form of identification;
  • And remember; if possible, turn off gas, electricity, and water supplies at the mains.
  • If you choose to remain in your home you should:
  • Remain vigilant and move valuables upstairs;
  • Turn off all electricity, water and gas if floodwater enters your home;
  • If you change your mind and decide to leave follow the instructions given above.
  • The Police should be contacted on 999 in an emergency.

For further information on how to prepare please see the Get Ready, Get Through section of this website.

After a flood

General advice on protecting against infection

The floodwater affecting your home or other property may be contaminated with sewage, animal waste and other contaminants. However, infection problems arising from floods in the UK are actually rare. Although harmful micro-organisms in flood water are very diluted and present a low risk, there are a few precautions to be aware of when dealing with flooding which, should prevent unnecessary additional health problems. If you follow the basic advice below you should not experience any additional health problems.

Floodwater and sewage often leaves a muddy deposit however, experience from previous flooding and sewage contamination has shown that any risk to health is small (You do not need any booster immunisations or antibiotics);

  • Always wash your hands with soap and clean water after going to the toilet, before eating or preparing food, after being in contact with flood water, sewage or items that have been contaminated by these, or participating in flood clean up activities;
  • Don’t allow children to play in flood water areas and wash children’s hands frequently (always before meals).
  • Wash floodwater-contaminated toys with hot water or disinfect before allowing them to be used:
  • Keep any open cuts or sores clean and prevent them from being exposed to flood water, wear waterproof plasters;
  • Harmful bacteria such as E.coli may be present in sewage and animal slurry, and this can pass into flood water, although there is likely to be substantial dilution. If anyone does develop a stomach upset following direct flooding or contact with sewage ensure they seek medical advice;
  • If the flood water contained oil, diesel etc this should in the main be removed with the floodwater and silt. Any remaining oil / diesel contamination, in areas that are accessible, can be removed by using a detergent solution and washing the surface down. In inaccessible areas such as under floor boards, it may present an odour problem but it is not necessarily a health hazard.

Further advice should be sought from the Environmental Health Unit of the local authority if the odour persists or if you are particularly concerned about it for other reasons;

  • Whilst in the property, floorboards, walls etc will continue to dry out, any loose material or dust resulting from this should be vacuumed up on a regular basis;
  • Very young children should avoid playing direct on timber floorboards or any damaged tiled floors if possible and be aware of the risk of injury from sharp edges on tiles or raised nails in the floorboards until these have been repaired;
  • Help for vulnerable and elderly people returning to their houses may be available from Lincolnshire County Council, Adult Social Care;
  • Contact your doctor if you become ill after accidentally ingesting (swallowing) mud or contaminated water and tell them your house was flooded.

Gardens and play areas

  • Do not let young children play on affected grassed or paved areas until they have been cleaned down and restored to their normal condition;
  • Sunlight and soil help destroy harmful bacteria and any excess risk to health should disappear completely within a week or so. (The best way of protecting health is to always wash your hands before eating or preparing food);
  • Frozen food that has been at room temperature for a few hours should be discarded. Put contaminated flood damaged food in black plastic refuse sacks, seal and dispose of it in accordance with local advice.
  • Check with insurers before disposal;
  • Don’t be tempted to try and salvage damaged food, including tins as they may be contaminated with sewage and chemicals left from the flood water.

If your drinking water becomes contaminated

People whose drinking water comes through a mains supply should follow the advice of their local water company regarding the safety of their water supply. Water companies have a duty to take all necessary steps to protect public health. If a water treatment works becomes flooded alternative supplies are normally available but consumers may be advised to boil water before drinking or temporarily refrain from using water for domestic purposes;

  • If you notice a change in water quality, such as the water becomes discoloured or there is a change in taste or smell, or if you are unsure, ring your local water company. If in doubt, boil all water intended for drinking or use bottled water;
  • If you have been advised to boil your water, then boil all water for drinking, brushing teeth, washing food, and making ice;
  • Boiling water kills pathogenic bacteria, viruses and parasites that may be present in water. Bring water to the boil and then allow it to cool before drinking. It can be stored in a clean jug covered by a saucer in a cool place (preferably in the fridge). Ice should be made from water prepared for drinking;
  • Water from the hot tap is not suitable for drinking, Ensure the water taps are cleaned and disinfected before using them for the first time;
  • If there is a bottle-fed baby in the house, make sure their water is boiled and do not use bottled water unless it is recommended by a doctor or health visitor, as some bottle water is unsuitable for babies as it contains too many salts for their immature kidneys to manage;
  • If your water is from a private supply such as a well or spring, check that it has not been affected by floodwater. If a private well or spring has been covered by flood water, if the water changes colour or taste, or you believe the supply has been affected by the flood then boil (or otherwise treat) the water. Continue to boil the water until the supply has been tested and shown to be safe.

Remember the following

  • Replace manhole covers dislodged by the flood;
  • Do not switch on electrical appliances, which have been in contact with floodwater unless a competent electrician has checked them. Your local Electricity Board will be checking main supplies;
  • Ensure your house is properly aired to encourage drying;
  • Make sure any mould growth is properly treated;
  • Finally, both physical, associated with over exertion in cleaning up premises, and mental stress, caused by temporary relocation, may cause you to feel unwell. The major health hazard a flood comes from the stress and strain of the event, not infection. The Citizens Advice Bureau can offer advice on a wide rage of topics to assist with the recovery from a flood.
  • The Samaritans provide emotional support and can be contacted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you feel unwell this does not mean that you are necessarily suffering from an infection, if you are still concerned you can always visit your own doctor.

If the inside of your home is affected

  • Remove all soft furnishings and fittings that are damaged beyond repair;
  • Remove dirty water and silt from the property, including the space under the ground floor if you have wooden floors, this space may need pumping out;
  • Wash down all hard surfaces with hot soapy water until they look clean, allow these to thoroughly dry as this will also help destroy germs left behind;
  • Heating and good ventilation will assist in the drying process.

Clothing and bedding

Clothing, bedding and other soft / fabric articles, including children’s toys etc should be washed on a hot wash (60 degrees or the highest temperature indicated on manufacturers instructions) which will destroy most germs that may be present. Other soft furnishings that have been contaminated and cannot be put in a washing machine will have to be cleaned professionally or, if this is not possible, may have to be disposed of.

It is recommended that you only fully re-occupy your home once the above cleaning has been carried out. There may be additional works to be carried out eventually as advised by your insurance company, housing officer, landlord, builder etc. If you decide to return to your house before this further work is complete you should:

Try to have some heating on at all times, consider the use of a dehumidifier, ensure the property is well ventilated, leave windows open as much as possible but remember security!
Ensure that if you have air-bricks to any under floor spaces that these are unblocked to give cross-ventilation to these spaces.

Food preparation and storage

  • Do not eat any food that has been covered by or come into contact with flood water or sewage;
  • Wash your hands before and after preparing food;
  • Ensure all surfaces that food will come into contact with are sound and disinfected. Particularly, make sure that the shelves, including those in your refrigerator where food is stored, are cleaned and disinfected;
  • Use boiled water which has been allowed to cool to wash food which is eaten raw;
  • It is safe to use tap water which has not been boiled in the preparation of food which is to be cooked;
  • It is also safe to use tap water that has not been boiled for cooking if it will be boiled during the cooking process;
  • Food preparation surfaces should be wiped down using hot soapy water. Dishes and other utensils should also be washed in hot soapy water or dishwasher;
  • Caterers should seek detailed advice from the Environmental Health Unit
  • Try to keep any opened foods in an enclosed box or tin;
  • All crockery, pots and pans should be thoroughly washed with hot soapy water before using, if any of these are badly damaged or chipped do not use;
  • Health risks can be minimised by taking general hygiene precautions and by the use of protective clothing (waterproof boots and gloves) whilst cleaning.

Road traffic

Flooding usually results in the blocking of roads by water. The County Council, in conjunction with the Police, will endeavour to ensure there are warning signs in place to warn of roads that are closed (if a road is found to be blocked an alternative route should be used). The situation changes rapidly and under no circumstances should signs blocking roads be removed or ignored.

A relatively small amount of fast flowing water has the power to move vehicles from the road and can be potentially fatal. There will be regular updates on the local radio and television.

Flood assistance

The organisations listed offer practical and emotional support to those people who have affected by flooding.

If you are concerned about the risk of infection following the flooding please visit the Health Protection Agency website.

If you would like any information about insurance visit the Association of British Insurers Flooding Advice pages.

If you would like information about how British Red Cross may be able to help you visit their website.

If you have any Trading Standards queries view the Flood Victim Advice documents.

Other information leaflets are available from the Environment Agency Floodline on 0845 988 1188.

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Last updated: 9 November 2017

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