During the floods
Information on these pages is there to help
residents during a flood and when evacuation might be necessary
because of flooding.
Tune into local radio stations
(BBC Hereford & Worcester 96,104, 104.4 and Free
Radio 102.8), log on to the Worcestershire County
Council website for the latest information or check the Council
Council's Twitter account.
- Keep dry and out of flood water. Do not allow children to play
around high water, drains or any flooded areas. Accidents happen in
fast flowing floodwater. Avoid walking in or near floodwater or on
river banks, sea defences or cross bridges over torrential rivers.
Flooding presents a number of risks to health, drowning being the
most obvious. Serious injury can be caused by falling into fast
flowing water or from hidden dangers under the water, such as
missing manhole covers
- Stay in your property, if safe to do so or as advised by the
- Do not drive through flood water, driving in floodwater
significantly increases risk of drowning. Always obey 'road closed'
advice for road users from The Safer Roads Partnership
- Move your family, pets and flood kit to a high place with means
of escape. Stay safe, listen to the advice of the emergency
services and evacuate when told to do so.
- Don’t touch sources of electricity if you are standing in
- Ensure good ventilation if using portable indoor heating
appliances. Do not use petrol or diesel generators or other similar
fuel-driven equipment indoors: the exhaust gases contain carbon
monoxide, which can kill.
- Infections arising as a result of floodwaters in this country
are rare as harmful microbes in floodwater usually become very
diluted. There are, however, a number of precautions you can take.
Avoid contact with floodwater and wash your hands regularly,
particularly before handling food or attending to wounds .
Swallowing floodwater or mud can cause diarrhoea, fever or
abdominal pain. Mention the flood if you see your GP within 10 days
for abdominal complaints.
- Remember that flooding is stressful. It is normal to feel
anxious or upset. Take care of yourself and your family and check
on elderly and vulnerable friends and neighbours.
If an evacuation situation arises:
- Try to stay calm and not panic;
- Move people, pets, valuables and sentimental items upstairs or
to a higher level;
- Be aware that flooding may not have reached its peak, or may be
predicted to return;
- Respond to the instructions from the emergency services - they
have your safety in mind;
- Avoid unnecessary contact with water, it may be
Food Safety Advice
Flood water can be contaminated with sewage, animal waste and
other waste, from drains or the surrounding area, and so could be
contaminated with harmful bacteria or chemicals. Although, the
water is usually very diluted and so the risks of getting ill are
low, follow simple hygiene practices to avoid getting ill from
If you have been affected by flooding, either because your home
has been flooded, or your water supply has been cut off, read our
tips on how to prepare food safely.
General Food Hygiene Tips
It's important to follow good food hygiene to stop harmful germs
that might be present in flood water spreading to food. Here are
some general tips on keeping food safe:
- Don't eat any food that has been touched or covered by
floodwater or sewage.
- Always wash your hands before preparing food.
- Clean and disinfect work surfaces, plates, pans, cutlery,
chopping boards etc. before using them with food. If you have a
working dishwasher, this is a more efficient way to clean and
sanitise smaller items. Or use a suitable disinfectant.
- Clean and disinfect the inside of your fridge and food
cupboards, if they have been touched by floodwater.
- Don't use work surfaces, plates etc. if they are badly chipped
- If tap water may be contaminated, boil and cool it before using
it to wash food that won’t be cooked, such as fruit or salad.
- If your power has been cut off and your fridge has not been
working for a few hours, throw away the food inside. If your
freezer has not been working, throw away any meat, fish or dairy
products, or foods containing these, if they have started to get
soft. Also throw away any food that you would eat frozen, for
example ice cream.
- Store opened food in a container with a lid.
- If you have a catering business and have been affected by
flooding, ask for advice from the environmental health
Fresh Fruit and Vegetables
For fresh fruit and vegetables that are grown either for sale or
for your own consumption:
- You should throw away any produce covered by flood water if it
is ready to eat, and is grown above ground, such as lettuce or
strawberries. It is fine to eat produce that is growing above the
water and not contaminated with flood water e.g. fruit on
- It is OK to eat produce that has been cooked, even if it has
been contaminated by flood water this is because cooking will kill
any harmful germs that might be present.
- You should wait at least six months after the area was flooded,
before harvesting any new fruit or vegetables from that affected
land. This is to make sure that any harmful germs that might be in
the soil from the flood water will not survive and contaminate the
produce. You do not need to wait before planting new crops if the
fruit or vegetables will be cooked before being eaten.
If you need any more information, speak to the environmental health service.
If your drinking water supply is either interrupted or
contaminated by the flooding and you need to prepare formula feed
for a baby, it is important to be careful with the water you use.
Here are some tips on preparing formula safely:
- Ideally use water from a bowser (a water tank provided by water
companies), or bottled water, brought to a 'rolling' boil and left
covered to cool for no more than half an hour, then follow the
manufacturer’s instructions on making up the feed. The use of
unboiled bowser water should be avoided.
- Use cooled boiled water or cooled boiled bottled water for
cooling the feed once it has been made up.
- Ready-to-feed liquid formula could be used instead.
- If there is no electricity or gas to allow boiling and you
don’t have ready-to-feed liquid formula available, bottled water
(table, spring or mineral water) can be used without boiling to
prepare baby feeds, but the prepared feed should then be used
- Some bottled water labelled as 'natural mineral water' may have
high levels of sodium or sulphate. When buying bottles of natural
mineral water, look at the label and check that the figure for
sodium (or 'Na') is not higher than 200mg a litre and sulphate (or
‘SO’ or ‘SO4’) is not higher than 250mg a litre. If it is, then try
to use another water. If no other water is available, then use this
water for as short a time as possible.
Public Health England have also put together a useful Frequently Asked
Questions about flooding document (PDF 5.43 MB).
- National Flood
- Worcestershire's Trader Register is a free online directory of
home improvement trades people who have given their commitment
to provide good workmanship.
- Highways Agency
The Highways Agency is an Executive
Agency of the Department for Transport (DfT), and is responsible
for operating, maintaining and improving the strategic road network
in England on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport.
We are not responsible for the content of external sites.
This page was last reviewed 19 August 2014 at 15:07.
The page is next due for review 15 February 2016.