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Flood advice and information

We know that flooding can make life extremely difficult for residents and businesses.

This page sets out advice and information for householders and businesses affected by flooding, and for all those seeking to make preparations in relation to the risk of flooding.

Support for households hit by Storm Ciara:

In the aftermath of Storm Ciara in February 2020 the Community Foundation for Lancashire has launched a recovery fund appeal to support household affected by the flooding.

Who to call when ...

Flood water from rivers/streams/reservoirscheck our website or Facebook page for updates/advice. You can also check river levels here

Water from overflowing/blocked drains in the road - call Lancashire County Council highways – 0300 123 6780 

Water coming in through the basement walls etc - it's residents/business owners responsibility to manage the situation, if vulnerable call emergency services on 112 or 999 

If there are drains that are failed/backing up within private premises - contact United Utilities on 0345 672 3723 or visit 

If there is burst mains waste or water pipes callers - call United Utilities on 0800 330 033

In events of trees being blown down blocking roads - call Lancashire County Council highways 0300 123 6780


If any serious damage is reported to buildings these should be reported to the emergency services on 999  


Problems with the incoming electrical supply - report to Electricity North West Ltd on 105 or 0800 195 4141 or visit


Flooding advice campaign:

Lancashire County Council has launched a campaign to help people be better prepared for possible flooding.

The campaign highlights the fact that flooding can happen almost anywhere, often without warning, during and after heavy rainfall – and that being prepared can significantly reduce its impact on people and property.

For more advice on preparing for and dealing with flooding click here

A leaflet called Flooding - Be Prepared has lots of helpful advice and tips.

Over the last few years, we have seen the devastating impact of heavy rainfall in Lancashire where people have had to leave their homes and seen valuables destroyed by flood water.

Even if you don't live near open water, there can be a risk of flooding. If it rains hard enough for long enough the roadside drains can become overwhelmed and the water will find its way to lower ground, potentially through houses, businesses or critical infrastructure.

It can't ever totally be prevented but there are things you can do to reduce the impact of flooding and preparing in advance will help you keep calm during a stressful situation.

This includes making sure you have the correct home insurance policy in place; writing a flood plan and preparing an emergency flood kit; making sure you know how to turn off your water, gas and electricity; and looking into ways of protecting your home from potential damage.

Surface flooding

Localised flooding on the roads and pavements is a common problem during heavy rainfall, and often for a few hours afterwards. Unfortunately any damage it causes can of course last a lot longer.

Driving through anything more than about 10cm of water is a risk to motorists and their vehicles, while homes and businesses on the roadside are also at risk of damage from waves caused by vehicles moving too quickly through the water.

You can help reduce the risk of surface water flooding by making sure any drains on your own property are clear of leaves and other debris, because these often act like a plug and stop the water from draining away. You might even want to check leaves haven't blocked the drain on the road outside.

If you feel blocked drains are causing a flood risk please refer to the advice in the Flooding - Be Prepared leaflet (see link above) or contact Lancashire County Council which is responsible for road drainage.

For more information, advice, useful contacts and to view a short animation about how you can prepare for flooding, visit

Check your flood risk:

Click here to check how vulnerable your property is to flooding, find out about the latest flood warnings, and other useful information on how to prevent flood damage.


Please note that, in responding to actual flood emergencies, Burnley Council has no statutory obligation to provide sandbags for flood protection, but may supply filled sandbags as an emergency measure if appropriate.

Officers will deploy available sandbags in highest risk areas as flood risk increases.

Householders should be advised not to rely on the council being able to respond to all needs in an emergency and to reflect upon measures that can be taken now to prepare for potential flooding in the future. 

For more information click here or see the download to the right of this page.


Managing flood risk in Padiham:

View the latest Environment Agency newsletter here


For regular updates on the weather 

Emergency contacts

  • Lancashire Police – 999 – If there is an immediate risk to life call the police (101 non-emergency number).
  • Environment Agency Floodline - 0345 988 1188 - To report a flood or if your property is at risk of flooding from a reservoir, river or coastal water.
  • United Utilities - 0345 6723 723 - If flooding is from sewers or burst water mains.
  • Power cuts – 105 To report a power cut or get updates when your electricity has been cut off. You can find more flooding advice from Electricity Northwest and their priority services register for customers who may need extra support during a power cut.

Other key contacts

Lancashire County Council - 0300 123 6780 – If flooding is from highway drainage, surface water, groundwater or watercourses. We can also give you advice on local rest centres, road closures or vulnerable people. Report a blocked drain or a pothole using our online form.


Driving safety

The advice is to check the local weather forecast from the Met Office before setting off and tune into local radio stations for traffic and travel updates. Always drive with extra care, allow plenty of time for journeys and avoid travelling in severe weather conditions unless your journey is essential.

Environment Agency:

The Environment Agency is a good source of information, not only when flooding is occuring, but also for advice and information on how to prevent flooding from affecting your property. The agency has issued a couple of posters which may be helpful - one covering personal property and the other your home 

United Utilities:

United Utilities has responsibility for certain sewage and drainage systems. There's useful information on their website.regarding flooding

Latest information : government and industry information on home insurance

Flood Re is the national scheme designed to help provide better access to affordable home insurance for those in high flood-risk areas across the UK. It represents a long-term, sustainable approach to providing home insurance for those at flood risk.

Download the information leaflet which describes how Flood Re will work for customers on the right or by clicking here. There is also a video available to watch at:

It is important that people at high flood-risk areas shop around for the best insurance policy. A list of participating insurers is avaiable at  

Click here for a leaflet from the Association of British Insurers about what do do if you are affected by flooding.

Public Health England:

This document from Public Health England sets out some useful information.

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service - general information

Click here for more information on preparing for flooding and what to do during flooding.

Prevent mould growth

Your property will be wet from the flood; because of this mould can start to grow. A mouldy building can trigger asthma. You should start drying the property as soon as possible.  You may not be able to find water trapped under floors or in wall cavities and you may need a specialist drying company.  Insurers will normally pay for this work.

Safety with food

Do not use food contaminated by floodwater. If in doubt throw it out.

Safety with electrical supplies, temporary lighting and heating 


  • Remember water conducts electricity and you can be electrocuted. Damaged or wet electrical appliances must be isolated or unplugged.

  • Don’t use electrical items until a competent person checks them.TV sets store an electrical charge for several hours, so keep away from water.

  • Generators should be sited outside as they give off fumes that can kill.

  • Be extra careful if you are using candles in the home.

The harmful effect of water is reduced a great deal by acting quickly.

  • Specialist firms can help you with appropriate equipment and expert knowledge. This will help you get back into your property faster.

  • Don’t forget to contact your insurance company or landlord/council first before arranging for a company to clean up.


  • Keep your freezer closed if electricity is likely to be restored within 24 hours and the freezer has not been affected by water.

  • Remove as much water as possible by mopping or using a vacuum that is made to take up water if fitted with a safety cut-out. Blot small areas with clean white towels to avoid any colour transfer.

  • Wipe water from wood after removal of tabletop items.

  • Remove and prop up upholstery cushions for even drying. Check that dye does not run onto other surfaces.

  • Place aluminium foil, china saucers or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpet to prevent absorption of water and swelling in the furniture legs.

  • Open drawers and cabinet doors to air-dry but do not force them open.

  • Make small holes into sagging plaster ceilings to release trapped water and place buckets beneath.

  • Note: artex used in the 1990s may contain asbestos – for more info go to

  • Keep out of rooms where ceilings are weakened or wet – older ceilings may be lath and plaster, which does not sag, but is very heavy and can suddenly fall.

  • Open windows and turn on heating to assist drying, but only after your gas or electrical mains supply has been checked by a qualified person.

  • Place damaged photos and documents in plastic bags and freeze for later inspection. Wrap books in cling film to maintain the binding before freezing

  • Use dehumidifiers to remove water from the atmosphere, you can hire these from tool hire companies.


  • Walk mud upstairs; change footwear to keep carpets clean

  • Use your normal “dry” household vacuum to remove water.

  • Use TV or other appliances while standing on a wet carpet or floor. A qualified electrician must check them first if fire or water damaged.

  • Turn on switches, ceiling fixtures or other electrical items if wet.

  • Use LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) heaters as they create water vapour.

Insurance for fire and flood


Who pays for emergency work?

The cost of urgent damage limitation work carried out by emergency fire and flood companies is usually covered by your building and contents insurance, provided you are fully insured (less any excess or exclusions).  Your insurance company will expect you to act quickly after the Fire Service has left, to limit further damage. Local emergency fire and flood companies can help you with this and some can also board up the building. These companies can reduce further damage and speed your recovery.

Carrying out the emergency work:

  • Your insurers may provide assistance from a national contractor
  • You can choose a local company if you want to.
  • Companies will liaise with insurers to gain approval for their work.
  • Make sure the company belongs to an accredited professional body.
  • Look at websites that show customer feedback.

Take photographs

Take photos of damage including items put outside by the Fire Service. You can get a cheap disposable camera from supermarkets.

Policies, what does each pay for?

  • Contents – moveable items, e.g. furniture, carpets, curtains etc.
  • Buildings – structure of the building and items fixed to the structure, e.g. boilers, fitted kitchens.
  • You may have separate policies with different insurers.

Your insurance policy may not cover all losses, check what you policies cover before taking any action or replacing items.

Are you a tenant I leaseholder?

To inform them of the event contact either:

  • Building owner

  • Landlord or their agent

  • Management company

They may claim from the building insurer.

Loss adjuster and loss assessors:

  • Your insurers may send a loss adjuster, claims assessor or claims advisor to inspect damage to the property and contents, and to agree the claim with you.
  • Public loss assessors are independent of your insurers and may contact you after an incident to offer to represent you with the claim. They normally charge a percentage of the claim value for their services.

 To prepare for your claim:

  • Make a list of all damaged items with replacement costs.

  • Get quotes for any building repair costs.

  •  Give details to the insurance representative or claims office.

Advice for food businesses:


Click here for more info

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