Immediately after the flood

Practical help

What to do

Who can I speak to?


  • Insurance – contact your company’s (24 hour) emergency helpline as soon as you can. If paying for help, keep receipts for any emergency pumping or repair work done. Take meter readings of gas or electricity. Keep photographic records of ALL flood damage.
  • In most cases the Scottish Flood Forum will have set up a local flood recovery centre – this will most likely be close to the flooded area as possible and advertised after a flooding event has occurred. If we are not immediately available please phone or e-mail us for help
  • Your local council’s Environmental Health department.
  • Your G.P. regarding issues of stress, anxiety and other health issues.

Health & safety advice

Floodwater may be contaminated by silt, sewage, oil or chemicals. Try to avoid coming into contact with it.

Wear protective clothing and wash your hands after any contact.

  • Don’t use damp electrical items – get them checked by a professional.
  • Seek medical advice if diarrhoea, fever or abdominal pain affects anyone.
  • Mould can be a health hazard for babies, people with allergies and the elderly (they should stay away during the clean-up).

Beware of fumes from petrol or diesel generators or gas heaters – they can kill. Do not use indoors. Electric pumps should only run through a circuit breaker.

If your garden floods

  • Don’t let children or pets onto affected grass or paved areas until cleaned.
  • Remove any toilet waste from affected areas by shovelling it into black bags, and sealing them. After the grass has grown and been cut once there should be no further risk as sunlight and soil will usually destroy harmful bacteria within a few weeks.

If you have children

  • Don’t let them play in floodwater – they risk infections and drowning.
  • Contaminated toys will need disinfecting.

Drinking water advice

Bottled WaterFollow the advice of your local water company, Scottish Water, regarding the safety of the water supply. If in doubt, boil all water intended for drinking, brushing teeth, washing food and cooking.

Please use bottled water

  • Take precautions for formula-fed infants. The preferred option for babies is to use bowser water brought to a ‘rolling boil’ and cooled or use bottled water.
  • Unboiled water should not be used.

Useful sources of information