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What to do in an emergency

In the event of a flood check the National Flood Forum or speak to a Floodline adviser to find out how to stay safe during a flood:

Telephone: 0345 988 1188
24-hour service

Contacts in the event of a major flood incident

Emergency services

The police co-ordinate the response agencies in a major flood incident and can help with the evacuation of people from their homes where necessary.

If there is a threat to life, dial 999 and ask for the appropriate service.

Environment Agency

The Environment Agency is responsible for managing the risk from flooding from coastal and Main Rivers.

  • Environment Agency Floodline 24hr 08459 881188
  • Environment Agency General Enquiry Line 03708 506 506
  • Environment Agency Incident Hotline 24hr 0800 80 70 60 

Water companies

Water companies are responsible for the supply of clean drinking water, and for the removal and treatment of wastewater.

During heavy rainfall drainage system can become overwhelmed and untreated sewage may spill out into streets and gardens.

Water companies will help, where possible, to reduce the amount of water escaping from the system and treat areas where sewage has been deposited once the flooding has subsided.

  • Anglian Water 03457 145 145
  • Thames Water 0800 714 614
  • Affinity Water (fresh water only) 0345 357 2407
  • Essex and Suffolk Water (fresh water only) 0345 782 0999

You can find independent advice on flood protection measures on the National Flood Forum website.

Serious flooding is rare, but it’s important that you are prepared.

Be informed

You can:

Gas, water and electricity

It's important that you know where and how to turn off the water, gas and electricity supplies in your home.


Floodwater can affect the safe use of your gas appliances.

They may light and appear to be working normally, but the flue or ventilation systems may be affected by the floodwater.

If you can smell gas in your home, call Transco National Grid on 0800 111999 as soon as possible.


If you spot dangerous power lines or experience a power cut contact UK Power Networks - 0800 31 63 105 from a land line or 0333 202 2022 from a mobile phone.  

Electrical Safety First has advice on what to do or not do after returning to your home after flooding.

Help from your local council 

Your local District or Borough council will:

  • help to re-house vulnerable people made homeless where there is no alternative solution
  • take away waste such as soiled carpets and furnishings,
  • make sure that there isn’t a threat to health from the general environment


Essex County Council doesn’t provide sandbags in preparation for flooding.

You can buy sandbags from a wide variety of suppliers. has advice on Sandbags: how to use them to prepare for a flood. 

If your property is being flooded by a blocked drain, this will need to be reported to Highways. They will not be able to investigate until the water has subsided.

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