You are the first line of defence against flooding and you can take simple steps to reduce the impact of flooding on your life.
With 108,000 properties in Scotland at risk of flooding it’s likely that you, or one of your family and friends, will be affected by flooding at some point in life. Know what to do and how to be prepared.
Am I at risk?
You can find out if the area your property is in is at risk by checking SEPA's Flood Maps. When you understand the risks, you can take steps to prepare for flooding.
Five easy steps to prepare for flooding
- Sign up to Floodline to receive free advance notice of when and where flooding might happen
- Prepare a flood plan and put a family flood kit together so everyone knows what to do if flooding happens
- Familiarise yourself with how to shut off gas, electricity and water supplies
- Keep a list of useful contact numbers including your Floodline quick dial code
- Consider flood protection products that could help to reduce the impact of flooding on your property and ensure your insurance provides adequate cover for flood damage
When flooding is forecast
If you are signed up to receive Flood Alerts and/or Flood Warnings from Floodline, you will be contacted by phone or text message to let you know that flooding is expected in your area. This gives you time to take action, reducing the damage flooding can cause to your property and the disruption to your life.
When flooding is forecast:
- Find out when and where flooding is predicted from Floodline
- Charge your mobile phone
- Move vehicles out of the flood risk area
- Move important documents and valuable items to a higher place
- Shut off gas, electricity and water supplies and fit any flood protection products to your property
If you’re not signed up to Floodline you can still find out flooding information from the live flood updates page on the SEPA website. We also try to put out messages through SEPA's social media channels when flooding is anticipated to cause disruption or affects multiple areas of Scotland. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook.
During a flood
During a flood, the most important thing is to stay safe and to not take any unnecessary risks.
- Do not walk, drive or swim through flood water
- Avoid any form of direct contact with flood water
- Do not use any electrical appliances
- Co-operate with emergency services and your local authority who are responsible for co-ordinating relief measures.
Cleaning up after a flood
If your property has flooded, you should contact your insurance company as soon as possible. If it’s safe to do so, take photographs of the damage caused to your home and valuables.
Read our quick guide to cleaning up after a flood, available in the Quick Links section. Your insurance company may also provide advice on how to proceed with cleaning up the damage. If you require further information, the Scottish Flood Forum can provide valuable help and support on recovering after a flood.
The stress of cleaning up after a flood can take its toll on your physical health and mental wellbeing and can affect anyone. Read our guide to dealing with the health effects of flooding in the Quick Links box found at the top left hand side of this page.
We have published our Essential guide for older communities which includes lots of ways older people can be prepared for flooding, these include:
- Signing up to Floodline or asking a carer, friend or family member to sign up on your behalf.
- Find out what other help family, friends and neighbours can offer you if flooding is likely.
- Plan your escape route, should flooding occur, particularly if you are in a bungalow.
- Learn how to shut off gas, electricity and water supplies.
- Protect your possessions by storing important items and documents well above flood level in watertight containers.
- Keep a list of useful contact numbers in your flood kit, including your GP’s surgery, family, neighbours, insurance company and utility providers.
We have been working in partnership with Contact the Elderly to help older people get flood prepared. By working together we are able to communicate more directly and help older people stay safe.
If you would be interested in working with us in a similar way contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Looking after your pets
If you have pets, you'll know that they rely on you not only for food and comfort but also to keep them safe. You can protect your animals in the event of flooding by taking steps to prepare in advance.
- Make sure your cats and dogs are wearing proper identification. It is recommended that all cats and dogs have both a microchip and an identity tag on their collar with up-to-date contact details
- Make sure food and medicines are well stocked. If you have a flood kit, make sure these items are included
- Make arrangements with a trusted neighbour, friends or family to take in your pets if you're away from home when flooding happens
- If evacuation is required, some human shelters will not allow animals. Ring your local authority to check its policy
- Within your flood plan, work out an escape route for you and your pets. If you have animals in a field, consider if you need extra gates for emergency access
- Stay updated. Listen for up-to-date information on flooding on local TV and radio or call Floodline on 0345 988 1188 for information on your area 24 hours a day.
When it floods:
- Bring all small animals inside, and, if possible, keep them upstairs
- Move food, bedding and fresh water somewhere dry
- Keep favourite toys dry, these may provide comfort to your pet
- Put important documents such as microchip numbers, vets and vaccination details in a sealed bag, along with a photo of your pet in case they get lost
- Think about taking pets to a family member or friend who lives outside the flood risk area
- Move horses and other outside animals to higher ground.
If you need to evacuate your property, small animals should be transported in suitable carriers. If it is too difficult or dangerous to take your animals with you, leave them inside an upstairs room with plenty of food and water. Leave notices on the outside doors to say there are animals inside and contact the SSPCA or your local Flood Warden immediately.
Health effects of flooding
The damaging consequences of flooding are not limited only to your property and possessions but can also have lasting impacts on your physical health and mental wellbeing.
Flooding can affect people of all ages and it is important to be aware that the impact on health is often not immediately obvious.
There are actions you can take to mitigate the health risks associated with flooding and organisations that can offer advice and support. Read our guide to dealing with the health effects of flooding in the Quick Links box found at the top left hand side of this page.
Some owners or occupiers of properties at risk of flooding may find it difficult to obtain flood insurance that meets their needs.
We have written a handy guide to flood insurance in Scotland that provides information and contacts to help customers find suitable flood cover. The leaflet has been written with the help of the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and has tips on:
- Comparing quotes
- Flood Re
- Flood risk assessment surveys
- Flood resistance products
- Resilience measures
- SEPA's flood maps
- The benefits of accessing Floodline
Flood Re is a joint government and insurance industry initiative created to help provide affordable insurance to those households at highest risk of flooding. You can find out more on the Flood Re website.
You can also find the guide and a link to Flood Re in the Quick Links box at the top left of this page.