LDN Flood Awareness Week 2019

Find out your flood risk and some easy steps you can take to protect your home.

London Flood Awareness Week ran from 11-17 November 2019 involving a partnership of the Mayor of London, Environment Agency, Thames Water and London Resilience working together to improve awareness of flood risk and help Londoners get prepared ahead of the winter months.

How would you cope in a London flood? Take this two-minute test.

Is London at risk of flooding?

London is well protected from predictable sources of flooding, such as tidal and river flooding. London's system of flood defences includes:

  • the Thames Barrier
  • around 400 smaller barriers and movable flood gates downstream of the Thames Barrier
  • over 300 km of river walls and embankments stretching into Essex and Kent

But there are several sources of unpredictable flooding, such as heavy rainfall, which can cause damage to homes, disrupt transport, and even affect people's safety. With the changing climate these instances of heavy rainfall are becoming more regular and intense making surface water flooding more likely.


There are lots of free or low-cost actions that we can all take to prepare for flooding.

We can also all help others to prepare for flooding - why not find out what actions your family and friends are taking?

Prepare a bag that includes medicines and insurance documents

A flood kit contains essential items you’ll need if you have to leave your home. These include: 

  • a change of warm / waterproof clothing
  • appropriate footwear
  • phone charger / fully charged power pack
  • torch / head torch
  • hand wash / sanitiser (flood water can be contaminated)
  • your personal flood plan that includes a list of your emergency contact numbers
  • medication and copies of medical prescriptions
  • copies of identification documents, like your driver's licence and passport
  • copies of your insurance documents
  • copies of important photographs

Find out how to prepare for flooding and raise awareness

The government has provided guidance and advice on how to prepare for flooding.

You can raise awareness locally, at work or at school using the Flood Awareness Week poster and sample article.

Fill in a personal flood plan, which includes a list of things you should do (like moving sentimental items to safety), and provides space for you to note down important contact details, such as your utility companies and insurance providers.

Another useful resource is Public Health England's flooding guidance and advice.

If you work in education, the Royal Geographical Society has created a great Key Stage 3 module on flooding in London.

Changing just a part of your garden from grey to green can help reduce the risk of flooding, encourage wildlife and be good for our wellbeing. You can start small, even if you don’t have a garden of your own.


Check your flood risk and sign up for Met Office severe weather alerts

You can check your surface water flood risk (as well as your risk of tidal or river flooding).

The Environment Agency's flood warning system is for properties at risk of river or tidal flooding.

For surface water flooding, your best alert system is the the Met Office's severe weather alerts system to let you know about forecast heavy rainfall:


These are some of the things you'll need to think about and do if heavy rainfall is forecast or if you receive a flood warning. 

Turn off gas, water and electricity

If you leave your home during a flood you’ll need to turn off your mains water, gas and electricity if it’s safe to do so. You should find out in advance how to do this.

The location of water stopcocks, gas shut-off valves and electrical master switches varies between properties. The gas shut-off valve is usually beside the meter. The mains electricity cut-off is usually a big red switch on your fuse box. If you can’t find your water stopcock, ask someone with practical experience or a plumber to help you.

Move things upstairs or to safety

Floods can destroy anything. Don't underestimate how important your possessions are to you. For example, family photographs may not be very expensive but they can be irreplaceable if they're destroyed by flood water. Think about moving items with sentimental value, as well as items you spent a lot of money on. 

If you have access to the first floor or higher floor of your building, it may be safer to move yourself, your family and your pets upstairs.

Move family, pets and vehicle to safety

Don’t walk, cycle or drive through flood water if you don't have to – floodwater can be contaminated, and 15cm of floodwater can knock an adult off their feet whilst 30cm of fast-flowing floodwater can move a car. Take care if you do need to walk or drive through floodwater - it can be much deeper than it looks, especially if floodwater has lifted manhole covers.

In rare cases, it may be necessary to leave your home and move to a community refuge. Contact your council for the location of your nearest refuge.



During a flood event, this is what you should do.

Call 999 if in immediate danger

Emergency services can help you during an emergency.

Follow advice from emergency services

Emergency services are experienced at dealing with flood events and can give important advice to keep you and your family safe. It’s important to cooperate with the emergency services if you are told to evacuate your property.

Keep yourself and your family safe

Avoid unnecessary risks and remember to:

  • Prepare
  • Act
  • Survive
  • Lend a hand

Lend a hand

Londoners are more likely to experience social isolation and loneliness than people in other parts of the UK. The Mayor’s vision is to support Londoners to build meaningful relationships with people from different backgrounds as well as their own. 

If it is safe to do so, help others

Check on your neighbours and offer support if they need help, particularly if they are old, have young children or are otherwise vulnerable.

Why not sign up with the British Red Cross to become an emergency response volunteer or a community reserve volunteer?

Help clean up your local area after a flood

Floods can leave rubbish and debris behind that can devastate homes and make neighbourhoods look unattractive.

Useful guides to recovering after a flood have been produced by the Environment Agency and the Know Your Flood Risk campaign. If you're able to, why not lend your neighbours a helping hand?

Or you can volunteer in your local green space to help clean it up - the London Friends of Greenspaces Network may be able to help you find a local group to volunteer with.

What is the Mayor doing to help?

To help improve the ability of London and Londoners to deal with flooding, the Mayor:

  • is strengthening policies in the London Plan to reduce the risk of flooding and increase the resilience of new developments to flooding
  • is delivering the London Sustainable Drainage Action Plan to help reduce the risk of surface water flooding across the city
  • is supporting Integrated Water Management Strategies across the city to ensure new developments consider the effects of flooding, sewer capacity and water scarcity
  • is helping Londoners to make the city greener, healthier and wilder, which will also help manage surface water flood risk
  • is working with Thames Water to reduce the risk and impact of burst water mains
  • is supporting the Thames Estuary 2100 Plan to protect London from future tidal flooding, for example as a result of rising sea levels

Who should you contact?

Call 999 if in immediate danger.

The best organisation to contact depends on the type of flooding you're experiencing:

Type of flooding Responsible organisation Telephone number Text phone number

River / tidal

Environment Agency

Floodline: 0345 988 1188

Incident Hotline: 0800 80 70 60

Floodline: 0345 602 6340
Surface water (from heavy rainfall) Lead Local Flood Authorities (borough councils) Council switchboard Council switchboard
Burst water mains / sewer flooding Thames Water

Leakline: 0800 714 614

Sewer flooding: 

0800 316 9800

Leakline: 0800 316 9898



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