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Flooding Advice


For up to the minute information on flood alerts, general advice and to report flooding call the Environment Agency (EA) FloodLine on 0345 988 1188 or visit www.gov.uk/help-during-flood


What to do if your property is being flooded?

If your property is being flooded and there is threat to life then call the emergency services by dialling 999 and ask for Bedfordshire Fire & Rescue Service (BFRS).


Flood water can rise quickly, always focus on the safety of you and your family before your property and be prepared to act quickly.  In the event of an emergency involving severe flooding it is recommended that you follow the advice from emergency services, especially if you are asked to evacuate your home.


In these situations please consider the following actions:

Threat to life - call Beds Fire & Rescue Service by dialling 999

  • The Fire service will respond to the call as an emergency carrying out rescue activities where required.


Severe flooding of habitable buildings and property - call Beds Fire & Rescue Service by dialling 999

  • The Fire Service will respond to the call as an emergency and may be able to assist with temporary protection measures at the property (e.g. deploying aquasacs), they may be able to assist with pumping water from properties.


Localised flooding (surface water flooding) not life threatening/severe - call the EA on 0345 988 1188 (option 4)

  • This usually happens where drainage systems are unable to cope with heavy spells of rainfall and should be reported to the EA.  The EA and the Borough Council will review and assess the issue reported and consider safety implications, e.g. where water is causing an obstruction to the highway.


General advice on flooding - call the EA on 0345 988 1188 (option 2)

  • For general information on how to prepare for flooding, signing up to flood warning system, roles, responsibilities etc.


Support provided by Borough Council during an emergency - call 01234 267422

  • support the lead role of the emergency services
  • support the local and wider community
  • mitigate the effects of an emergency
  • lead on the recovery (after the emergency)


For advice in preparing for a flood please click here.


What the Flood Alerts and Warnings Mean


Fld defn

Local Flood Risk Update

For further information regarding updates, flooding alerts and warnings, please use the menu on the left hand side of this page or Flooding Updates for the latest flood alerts and warnings issued by the EA or call 0345 988 1188.


What to do Before, During and After Flooding

Before Flooding

  • Find out if you are at risk of flooding by contacting the Floodline on 0345 988 1188 for advice on current conditions and or visit the Gov.uk website 
  • Put together an overnight bag in case you have to be evacuated
  • Consider proactively protecting your property by protecting doorways and low level air vents with sandbags or plastic bags filled with sand or earth.
  • Check on your neighbours, especially those who are elderly or infirm and inform the Emergency Services or Flood Warden of their location


During Flooding

  • Keep calm, if you are in danger dial 999 and/or attract attention of people nearby
  • Turn off water, gas and electricity supplies at the first sign of flooding in your property
  • If trapped, remain near a window where you can be seen
  • If the Emergency Services are on the scene, follow their instructions
  • Be prepared, you may need to be evacuated
  • Do not enter flood waters as depth and current can be deceiving. Just 6 inches (15mm) of flood water can knock an adult off their feet. The flood waters may also be contaminated with sewage and there may be hidden dangers
  • Move your family, pets an valuables upstairs or to higher ground if threatened by floods


After Flooding

  • Contact your insurer
  • Do not switch on gas or electricity until it is checked by a professional/and or utility company
  • Do not use food that has been in contact with flood water
  • Always wear waterproof gloves when handling soiled items, and always wash your hands if you touch anything soiled by the flood water
  • Thoroughly clean and disinfect all items soiled by flood water
  • Assume flood water contains sewage


Weather Reports, Updates and Travel Disruption

The local weather forecast can be viewed by accessing the Met Office online by clicking here.


For details of travel disruption due to weather conditions please check out the Winter Maintenance Updates pages.


You can see whether you live in an area at risk of flooding by visiting the Environment Agency's website. If you are at risk and would like to receive early warning of floods, you can sign up to a free Floodline Warning Direct service operated by the Environment Agency by either calling Floodline on 0345 988 1188 or signing up online.


Flood Protection & Sandbags in Flooding

Sandbags are not the most effective form of protective measures when it comes to property level flood protection and other flood defence measures, such as 'Aquasacs' and other products, may be provided to assist in extreme cases.  However where circumstances dictate, and the Borough Council's Flood Risk Team assess the risk to property flooding as being high with a threat to life/serious damage, then aquasacs/sandbags will be deployed as necessary.


The video below shows use of aquasacs during flood conditions and the benefits of this product when compared to the use of traditional sand bags https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpidZ_h0gZI


Flood Control Products

The protection of your property is a matter for you and ultimately it is your decision.  We would suggest, however, that you consider other flood defence products that have been proven to be more efficient and effective than sandbags.  More information on other flood defences can be found on the Blue Pages.


Sandbags do have a use in certain circumstances, for example retaining the structural integrity of walls, or diverting flood waters to areas of safety.  In these circumstances it may be useful to deploy sandbags based on the risks presented at the time and the Flood Risk Team will assist in these circumstances.  Other agencies such as the Fire Service or Military would also advise in such situations.


During a flood incident, Aquasacs would be used across the area to mitigate the effect of flooding.  The distribution and management of Aquasacs would be coordinated by the Local Authority and Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service.


If you are experiencing flooding or think you are likely to flood please visit the Flood Risk Management pages for advice and reporting methods.

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