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After flooding

First things first

Download Leaflet - After a flood (82 kbs)

Do not re-occupy your house until it has been cleaned, disinfected and dried. You should also have any electric, gas or fuel based service checked by a professional before turning them on.

Floodwater can undermine the foundations of a property, weaken it structurally and move heavy items such as furniture into an unstable position.


When entering a property after a flood, always take the following precautions:

  • Assume all power lines are live. Check that the power in the property is off before you do anything.
  • Check for the smell of gas and make sure the lines are turned off.
  • When entering a room look at the ceiling for any signs of cracks or bulges. Wet plaster is very heavy and can pose a threat to the structure of the property.
  • If your basement is flooded do not rush to pump it out. If the ground outside is saturated it could create uneven pressure on the basement walls.
  • Be careful when moving any debris and seek help in moving heavy or unstable items that could trap or crush you.
  • Do not enter a building that has large amounts of sediment either inside or against it, as the structure may be unstable.
  • Be careful when moving around inside the property, standing water can hide a lot of hazards.
  • Move slowly and carefully when moving around a flooded building.
  • Watch out for vermin or stray animals which may have taken shelter in your property during a flood. Be careful when approaching any animal and if you are worried call the local animal warden.
  • Remember rats’ urine can cause Weil's disease, so take care not to expose yourself to any water that you believe has been exposed to rats.
  • Standing water can be a breeding place for microorganisms which can be released into the air when the water is disturbed. These can be a health hazard if inhaled. Remove all items from the water as soon as possible and wear a protective mask if asthmatic or if you have chest problems.
  • Remember that water can be contaminated – Wash your hands with disinfectant if they come into contact with floodwater or silt debris

Once you are satisfied that it is safe to enter your property there are a few things you must do before you start to clean.

  • Record the damage caused by the flood on a camera or video recorder.
  • Mark the water levels on the walls for reference.
  • Check with your insurance company. They will usually pay for any clearing up, cleaning and sanitising following a flood. You may also be entitled to other assistance as well.
  • Always make sure your insurance company has given approval before any work is carried out.