Be prepared for flooding

Below are some of the things you can do to prepare for flooding.

Check if you are at risk of flooding

Please note: Haringey is not currently considered to be an area at high risk of flooding. However, if you do have concerns, visit the government website: Check long-term flood risk - GOV.UK (external link). On that page, you can enter your postcode to find out if you are in a flood risk area.

The service will tell you the flood risk of an area, not a specific property.

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Prepare a flood kit grab bag

Putting together a flood kit grab bag is a useful way of minimising the risks. Find out more on how to prepare your emergency bag.

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What do flood warnings mean and how to sign up for them

There are 3 types of warning: Flood Alert, Flood Warning and Severe Flood Warning:

Flood alert sign. Flooding is possible. Be prepared.


  • A Flood Alert will be used to warn people of the possibility of flooding and encourage them to be alert, stay vigilant and make early preparations for flooding.
  • A Flood Alert will be issued earlier than a Flood Warning, to give people advance notice that flooding is possible.
Flood warning sign. Flooding is expected. Immediate action required.


  • A Flood Warning will be used to warn people of expected flooding and encourage them to take action to protect themselves and their property.
Severe flood warning sign. Danger to life.


  • A Severe Flood Warning will be used when there is a significant risk to life, or significant disruption to communities, to encourage people to take action to protect themselves and follow the advice of the emergency services.

Stay informed: 

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Keep a list of useful contact numbers

Useful numbers to consider for your emergency contact list:

  • Insurance claim line (with your policy number)
  • Your landlord
  • Haringey Council - Telephone: 020 8489 0000
  • Emergency services (e.g. NHS 111*) and your GP details
  • Numbers of family members and friends
  • Floodline: 0345 988 1188 (24-hour service). See call charges at GOV.UK (external link)
  • For further considerations, check out the emergency contact list

*If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech-impaired, you can use the text service. Learn more about it on Emergency SMS (external link)

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Insurance cover

It is important to get a household insurance cover for flooding.

If you are NOT insured and suffer a flood, you will most likely be responsible for covering all the costs of flood damage.

Here is guidance on how to go about getting insurance:

  • The best way is to phone insurers directly to enquire about the possibility to contract household insurance. 
  • Make sure you check whether you are eligible for flooding if you contract household insurance. 
  • In case you cannot find insurance that matches your needs, please contact the National Flood Forum (external link) for support.

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Know how to turn off your utilities

Make sure that you know how to turn off your utilities to avoid damage and potentially serious health threats.

  • Contact your supplier companies (electricity, gas and water) first to know how to proceed.
  • Mark taps or switches with stickers to help you remember.
  • You will need to turn off your mains water, gas and electricity if it is safe to do.
  • It is advisable to turn off and unplug large appliances on the ground floor. If you can, unplug and move portable appliances to a higher location too.

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.

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Create a plan and identify actions and priority value

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Flood defence

Empty sandbags can be purchased from many builders' merchants and DIY stores.

They can be filled with normal sand or even soil. Pillowcases filled with earth can also act as a sandbag.

You can reduce the flood damage if you apply these changes to your property to ensure that the impact is minimised, and you can get back to your home or business as quickly as possible:

  • ensure that your drains and gullies are clear of debris
  • use porous plaster
  • fit solid floors or tiled floor coverings instead of carpets
  • put your electrical sockets and appliances higher up the wall
  • move furniture and valuable possessions upstairs
  • fitting non-return valves to stop floodwater from entering your property through the drains

Please check the Bluepages (external link) to check the suppliers’ list for flooding products and services.

Haringey Council has a limited supply of sandbags to be used as necessary, with priority given to measures that will protect the public as a whole – such as using sandbags to help redirect water flow to protect the maximum possible number of properties.

Decisions on the distribution of sandbags will be based on how effective the use of sandbags will be in the circumstances, along with the availability of resources to deploy them.

Residents and business owners are advised to take steps to protect individual properties where they feel necessary, including considering buying their own sandbags.

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What can the council do?

Haringey Council together with responding partners have a plan in place to respond to flooding events and reduce their impact:

  • We give local advice about the incident and what to do. 
  • We may set up a rest centre for residents who have been affected by flooding and need to be evacuated from their homes, and arrange temporary shelters or accommodation for people who have nowhere else to go.
  • We deal with road closure and disruption to local services.
  • We can provide sandbags when a flood warning is in force to areas where high likelihood and high impact is expected to help redirect water flow to protect the maximum possible number of properties. 
  • We lead on local investigations to find the causes of flooding
  • We advise you to take steps to protect your individual properties. Consider buying alternative sandbags that you can use immediately when necessary.

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Report blocked gullies/drainage

Drainage systems are designed to provide the efficient removal of water from the surface of the highway to provide a safe passage for pedestrians and vehicles.

Problems can occur even when drainage provisions are clean and well maintained. Flooded and waterlogged roads result when the amount of water arriving on the road is greater than the capacity of the drainage facilities that take it away.

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Advice for businesses

If you own a business and would like advice on how to prepare for flooding, the Environment Agency provides further information on how to do so. 

This includes:

  • how to find out if your business is at risk
  • a template to aid the design of a flood plan for your company
  • information on their flood warning service

If this is relevant to you, please visit the Preparing your business for flooding - GOV.UK website (external link)

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Page last updated:

April 22, 2022