What to do when you first return to your property

When you are allowed to return to your property:

  • Do not walk or drive through floodwater to access the property unless this is urgent and unavoidable. There are often hidden dangers below the surface – potholes, open drainage culverts and manholes, debris which can entangle you and drag you under.  Moving flood water is even more dangerous – even shallow depths can pull you over or sweep your car away.
  • Do not turn on the mains services to your property (if these were turned off during the flood) without first checking with the service provider that it is safe to do so. They may want to inspect before giving the all clear.
  • Check your property for visible signs of structural damage. If there are any (or you are unsure) then contact your buildings insurer for advice.  They will help you to appoint a building surveyor to arrange an inspection. Details of how to find a RICS accredited building surveyor in your local area are available here.
  • Wear suitable protective clothing and footwear. It is possible that the floodwaters contained sewage or other contamination which will remain in the property after the water has receded and could make you ill.
  • Make sure you have a working mobile phone with you so you can call for help. As the electricity may remain turned off, you may have to rely on the phone, rather than your computer, to contact necessary organisations (eg insurers, builders, de-humidifier services)


If this is a commercial property, and you employ staff there:

  • Do not ask them to return to work there until you are sure that it is safe to do so. If you have arranged alternative accommodation (either as part of a pre-arranged disaster recovery plan or ad hoc) then you should ask them to work from that location instead (though first check that their contract of employment permits you to do this).
  • Check with your staff what personal belongings they left at the property that have been lost or damaged in the flood. Ask for evidence of their value, in case these can be included in the insurance claim.