Civil emergencies - flooding

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Inevitably, from time to time, flooding will threaten some homes and businesses in vulnerable areas.

Everyone should prepare for flooding. Preparations can include; finding out if you are at risk of flooding, signing up for flood warnings, making a flood plan, protecting property, finding out what you can do if you own a riverside property, how to get extra help if you have a disability or need extra help, getting insurance. You could also become a flood warden.

During a flood

Who to contact

Sandbags and other flood protection equipment

Although we do not have to supply sandbags, we will do our best, in the circumstances, to mount a reasonable flood defence response. This includes making sandbags available at locations of highest risk. However, our supply of sandbags is limited and we can not guarantee that sandbags will be available in sufficient time, or in sufficient quantities to prevent or reduce damage to property. We give priority to domestic premises to try and prevent people getting flooded out of their homes. If you live in a known flood risk area, you should adopt a self help approach, prepare in advance and respond to forecasts or flood warnings.

Sandbags are not waterproof and will not keep water out indefinitely. Purpose designed flood protection products are much more effective than sandbags.

How to keep or dispose of sandbags safely


If a decision to evacuate is made, the Police will lead with assistance from other agencies by door knocking at each property.

If you might be evacuated you should make arrangements to stay with family or friends. A temporary shelter, called a welfare centre, may be set up for those who are evacuated and unable to stay with family or friends. Basic care and welfare support is provided, as well as information and advice.

Decisions to evacuate are not taken lightly and are based on information relating to public safety and expected conditions on the ground. The preference will always be to evacuate when it is safest to do so.

This may be before water has actually reached or entered your property, but is expected to do so.

If you refuse to evacuate when notified, and change your mind later, you may potentially put yourself, your family, your pets and your rescuers at risk. This may then mean that increased costs are incurred due to additional equipment or manpower being needed.

If you decide to stay in an area evacuated due to flooding, it may not be possible for assistance such as food, drinking water and medical supplies to reach you. You should also bear in mind that there may be no way to flush toilets or get rid of waste. It is also likely that gas and electricity supplies will not be available.

What we do in a flooding emergency

  • We work with Kent County Council, the police, fire and rescue services and the Environment Agency to co-ordinate the response during severe flooding.
  • We set up welfare centres for people who are evacuated and unable to stay with family or friends and arrange temporary housing.
  • We will do our best, in the circumstances, to mount a reasonable flood defence response including making sandbags available at locations of highest risk.
  • Liaise with flood wardens

What to do after a flood

You should make sure that you clean up safely after a flood.

  • Items that have not been contaminated, for example with sewage or chemicals, can be thrown away.
  • Items that have been contaminated need to be disposed of more carefully.
  • If you are making an insurance claim you may need to check with your insurance company before disposing of items.
  • Keep or dispose of sandbags safely
  • You should also prepare for future floods, this includes finding out how you can protect your property from flooding.
  • Consider becoming a flood warden

More information

Flood risk management