Flooding and water supply
The Environment Agency provide a flood warning service with alerts issued to local media or available online. Here you'll find help and advice for preparing for and dealing with flooding or issues with your water supply.
The Environment Agency provides a 24-hour Floodline service, which allows you to check if your property is at risk.
The Environment Agency also issues flood warnings to local authorities and emergency services if there is a risk of flooding.
These flood warnings are also circulated to local TV and Radio stations, so that announcements can be made to enable residents to prepare for any localised flooding.
Alerts and warning symbols
Watch out for the following warnings on TV or on the Environment Agency's website:
Flooding possible - Be aware! Be prepared! Watch out
Flood warning - Flooding of homes, businesses and main roads is expected. Act now!
Severe flood warning - Severe flood is expected. Imminent danger to life and property. Act now!
All clear - All clear is issued when flood watches or warnings are no longer in force. Flood water levels receding. Check all is safe to return. Seek advice.
What can I do to prepare for a flood?
Check your level of insurance cover by asking your insurer the following questions:
- Is my property insured against flood damage?
- Does my cover provide me with temporary accommodation?
- Will any necessary clean up or repairs to my property be taken care of?
- How much compensation will I receive to cover any damages to my property and contents?
- Find out how to turn off your gas and electricity from the mains
- Electrical appliances, which can be lifted should be unplugged and moved to the safest and highest part of the property
- Large appliances such as washing machines, tumble dryers, cookers, fridges, freezers that are too heavy to move should be unplugged and disconnected from their pipe work and raised off the floor using bricks and blocks
- Large appliances should be kept away from walls. This will speed up the drying out process after a flood has occurred
- Roll up any small carpets or rugs and place at the highest part of the property
- Empty out the contents of any furniture that cannot be moved and place the contents high up
- Raise any furniture that cannot be moved using bricks or blocks
- Weigh down any items that cannot be raised as this will prevent any movement in the floodwater
Outside your property
- Ladders, garden furniture and any other items that could become damaged or float away should be secured down
- Animals should be brought indoors or if you're property is being evacuated, animals should be prepared so that they can be removed quickly
- Move vehicles to higher land where possible
Emergency flood pack
Prepare an emergency flood pack containing items that you might need should a flood occur. The flood pack should be stored in a place that is safe, easy to reach and should include:
- A list of useful phone numbers
- Home and car keys
- Mobile telephone
- A torch and spare batteries
- Blankets and warm clothing
- Waterproof clothing, including rubber gloves
- A first aid kit, including sanitary supplies and any prescribed medication
- Portable radio with spare batteries
Cleaning up after a flood
You should not re-occupy your property until it has been carefully cleaned as bacteria breed in contaminated floodwater.
The following cleaning guidelines should be followed at all times:
- Wear waterproof clothing such as rubber gloves and boots to avoid skin contact with water
- Always wash your hands with soap and clean water after being in contact with floodwater, sewerage or items that might have been contaminated by them
- Use waterproof dressings to cover any cuts or wounds. Seek medical advice from your GP or local hospital should open wounds come into contact with floodwater
- Seek medical advice from your GP or local hospital if you become ill after accidentally swallowing floodwater
Dry out your property
- Remove all dirty water and silt particularly from the space under the floorboards
- Good ventilation is crucial. Opening windows and doors will allow moisture to escape from the property, but remember to keep your property secure
- Attempt to keep a constant temperature of 20-22 degrees centigrade once a qualified engineer has checked the heating system in your property. High temperatures should be avoided as this can lead to increased bacterial growth
- Check the safety of your water supply with the water supplier before use
- Do not turn your electricity or gas back on until it has been checked by a qualified electrician/engineer
- Any electrical and gas appliances that have come into contact with floodwater should be checked over by a qualified electrician/engineer
- Before disposing of furniture, ask your insurance company to inspect any damaged items and to arrange for their removal. Stockton Council can also organise for the removal of bulky items
- Wash all hard surfaces with hot soapy water. Next, use a domestic disinfectant to wash over the surface to kill all bacteria. Allow washed down surfaces to dry thoroughly as this will help to destroy germs
- Put all soft furnishings that can be machine washed in to a hot wash of at least 60 degrees centigrade
- Professionally clean soft furnishings that cannot be machine washed or dispose of the items if this is not possible
- Don't eat any food that has come into contact with floodwater
- Clean and disinfect taps before use
- Wash your hands before and after preparing any food
- Food preparation surfaces, dishes, pots, pans and utensils should be washed using hot unboiled tap water containing washing up liquid before use
- Use boiled or bottled water if you are still unsure about the supply of water to your house. However, do not use bottled water for a bottle-fed baby, as the mineral content may be too high. Always ensure that the water has been boiled for the bottle unless recommended otherwise by a doctor or health advisor
- Do not drink water from the hot tap as the water is unsuitable for drinking
- Check with your insurer before disposing of any food if your freezer has been turned off due to flooding. Do not recover any food, including tins that have come into contact with floodwater. Place damaged food in bin bags and place outside for the next waste collection
- Do not handle any wet electrical equipment
- Clean and disinfect external walls and driveways/paths and allow three hours for the disinfectant to work
- Provide ventilation by unblocking airbricks
- Replace manhole covers that may have been displaced by the flood
- If cutting your own grass, allow it to grow as normal and mow it wearing waterproof clothing, as cuttings may be contaminated. Cuttings should then be bagged up and properly disposed of
- Avoid walking, driving or swimming through floodwater as it could be contaminated
- Wash children's hands regularly if they are playing outdoors. Do not let young children or pets play on grass or paved areas that have come into contact with floodwater
- Toys that have come into contact with floodwater should be washed with hot water or disinfectant before letting a child play with them.
Help and advice
I think there's a problem with the water supply
If you think there could be a problem with your water supply, it is advised that you contact your local water company, who should be able to advise you on any further action that should be taken.
For further information on your local water company visit the Northumbria Water website or call 0845 717 1100 (24hr service).
I need help with temporary housing
If you are in need of emergency accommodation please contact Stockton Council's Housing Options Service on 01642 528389 or after 5pm please call the emergency duty team on 08702402994.
They will assist you with finding alternative emergency accommodation until you are able to return to your home.
When will the electricity be back on?
The contact details for Northern Power Grid are 0800 668877 they can provide an update.
I need help with a vulnerable child or adult.
Call Stockton Council's Social Care team on 01642 527754.
I need help cleaning up my house / garden / street
Resources will be provided to help people to clean up and dispose of flood damaged items.
If you are cleaning up yourself always follow Health Protection Agency advise. Guidance is available on the Health Protection Agency website.
Don't throw anything away until your insurance company has confirmed you can. Wherever possible take photographs of any items in the house before you take them out.
Stockton Borough Council can help you to remove flood damaged items once your insurance company agrees - just call Stockton Borough Council on (01642) 524498 or 527254 to make the arrangements.
The following organisations may be able to help provide advice, guidance, furniture and household goods:
Stockton District Advice and Informatin Service
Billingham Food Bank
Contact Nigel on 07954131337
68-69 Brunswick Street, Stockton on Tees, TS18 1DR, Web: www.frade.co.uk
British Heart Foundation
119 -120 High Street, Stockton on Tees, Tel: 01642 612276
14 Yarm Lane, Stockton on Tees, Tel: 01642 676511
The following Faith organisations that may be able to help with food and emergency supplies:
Oakwood Centre, Jill Grovier or Sue Sorrell, Tel: 01642 781919
Guru Nanak Gurdwara and Sikh Community Centre
21a Allensway, Thornaby, Stockton on Tees, TS17 9HA
Farooq e Azam Mosques and Islamic Centre
39 -41 Hartington Road, Stockton on Tees, TS18 1HD, Tel: 01642 699943, Email:email@example.com
Stockton Street Pastors
Steve Brock, Tel: 07526641796, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
British Red Cross
County Durham and Teesside, Northumbria and Cumbria, Croft House Newcastle upon Tyne, NE4 8SR, Tel: 0191 273 7961, Web: www.redcross.org.uk
Stockton on Tees, 01642 617629
What advice is there for property owners in dealing with flooding?
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) is reminding property owners to -
- Make sure that they have important documents, such as contact details for home buildings, contents, and motor insurer, as well as emergency contact details for the local authority, gas, electric and water companies together in a safe place.
- Listen to regular weather updates and information from the Environment Agency.
- If high winds are expected then, where possible, secure items like ladders in gardens which could cause damage.
Anyone who suffers damage caused by floods or high winds should -
- Contact their insurer. Most will have 24 hour emergency helplines to get claims moving as quickly as possible.
- If needed, arrange any temporary repairs to stop the damage getting worse.
- Keep receipts as they will form part of your claim. Home insurance will usually cover the costs of any temporary accommodation needed if the property is uninhabitable while drying out and being repaired.
- See http://www.abi.org.uk/Information/Consumers/General/Floods/Flooding.aspx for more information.
Also remember to -
- Always check the identity of anyone who arrives at your home claiming to be from the Council, Police, Environment Agency, insurance company or any other organisation. Representatives from reputable organisations will always carry ID.
- Some unscrupulous people may be looking to take advantage of those affected by the floods - follow the advice of your insurance company and be wary of agreeing to have any work carried out by anyone who knocks at your door offering building or repair services.
For more advice or to report any concerns, you can call Stockton Borough Council's Trading Standards & Licensing Service on (01642) 526560.
Stockton Council is not responsible for the content of external websites.