Remember, you can call Floodline on 0345 988 1188 any time night or day for real-time flood warnings and advice, including registration to the Flood Warning Services.
In the event of major flooding in the county, Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service work closely with other agencies to deliver a coordinated approach to the operation.
If your home is threatened by flood water, or in the event of a flood, use the links below for information on this page:
- Safety advice: flooding
- Preparing for a flood
- During a flood
- If your house floods
- Fire Safety Advice
- How our Emergency Management team assist with flooding
1. Safety advice: flooding
If you have made a few preparations in the event of flooding, you can significantly reduce the damage and upset caused – especially if you live in an area where there is a high risk of flooding, or if you have had a flood before.
Cornwall Council, the emergency services and the Environment Agency will help where they can, but primarily you are responsible for protecting your own property.
If life is at risk, call 999 - view our information on dialling 999 in an emergency.
When flooding is widespread, it is not possible to respond to every call for assistance at once, and our priority will be to save lives..
2. Preparing for a flood
Keep a list of useful numbers to hand e.g. your insurance company, the Environment Agency Floodline number.
- Check with Floodline to see if there are any specific flood warnings for your area.
- Get some *sandbags to block doors and airbricks (making sure there is adequate ventilation).
* Please note that Cornwall Fire and Rescue Services does not hold stocks of sandbags. For further assistance in the use of Sandbags, visit the Cornwall Community Flood Forum web page on using Sandbags.
- Make a flood kit. Keep a torch, battery radio, emergency numbers, rubber gloves and your insurance policy in a safe place.
- Know where your mains electricity and gas supply switches are.
- Underestimate the damage a flood can do. Contact your insurance company to make sure you have adequate flood cover.
- Assume everyone knows what to do. Make a family flood plan.
- Wait for the flood to happen. Floods can occur very quickly. Get prepared now.
3. During a flood
- Remember that during a storm the emergency services will be very busy. Only call for immediate assistance if there is risk to life.
- Keep an eye on weather reports on local television or radio news channels. Do not travel in heavy rainstorms unless absolutely necessary.
- Look after neighbours. People have been known to suffer from hypothermia after their homes have become flooded with cold rainwater even in summer.
- Attempt to drive through flooded roads or fords. The water is often deeper than it looks and may be moving quite fast. Your vehicle may be swept away or become stranded.
- Try to walk through flooded areas. Even shallow water moving fast can sweep you off your feet and there may be hidden dangers such as open drains, damaged road surfaces, submerged debris or deep channels: these can cause serious injury or even death.
- Take boats onto rivers or walk alongside rivers – this is extremely dangerous in a flood situation.
- Allow children to play in floodwater – it can be contaminated with sewage and chemicals.
- Smoke, eat or drink whilst in contact with floodwater and always wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.
4. If your house floods
- Turn off the electricity supply at the mains, if you can do so safely.
- Get out of the water - move family and pets upstairs or to higher ground.
- Make sure all electrical circuits are fully dried out and checked by an electrical engineer after the flood, before switching back on.
- Attempt to turn off the electricity supply while standing in water.
5. Fire Safety Advice
- Only return to evacuated buildings if you are told it is safe to do so.
- Avoid electricity sources and do not attempt to turn off the electricity supply while standing in water.
- Get an approved service engineer to check your property utilities (gas, electricity and water) before turning back on to ensure that all electrical circuits are fully dried.
- Beware of contaminated water and sharp objects in lying flood water
- Ensure that you have a working smoke alarm as there is an increased risk of fire from wet electrics. The Fire Service will provide a Free Home Fire Safety Check if required (0800 3581 999)
- Take extra care if using candles and open fires.
- If your property or belongings are damaged, contact your insurance company. Ask their advice before starting to clean up..
The Council's approach to providing emergency assistance during times of flooding is as follows:
- The Council will provide engineering advice on ways residents can alleviate the risk of flooding to their properties if requested and issue general guidance to all properties in the area of their roles and responsibilities under the Land Drainage Act 1991. The Council will provide, if possible, during times of severe flooding, engineering advice on site to assist with the use of resources and control the situation where appropriate.
- Provide building inspections through our Building Control department
- The Council will assist with the dissemination of Environment Agency flood warnings where appropriate.
- Very serious flooding resulting in the need for evacuation of houses, provision of temporary accommodation and the like is covered by the Council's rest centre and flood plans. For more information see Humanitarian Assistance and Evacuation page.
- Update and activate the Multi-agency High Risk Community Flood Plans.
- Work with local communities to develop Community Emergency Plans to make them better prepared during an emergency such as a flooding event.
If you live near the coast, there is always a possibility that a combination of high tides and bad weather will threaten your property with flooding, even though engineers will have done as much as possible to reduce the risk of this happening.
However, even if you live inland, events over the past few winters have demonstrated that exceptional storms can cause flooding even on hill slopes, when the drainage system is simply overwhelmed by the amount of water it is expected to carry.
In addition, when the ground is saturated even small additional amounts of rainfall will find it difficult to drain away from gardens and enclosed spaces.
The Council, at times of emergency, will be endeavouring to protect the public at large and will not be able to assist a large number of individual homeowners who may find their properties threatened.
We use Twitter to give updates on flooding and severe weather, please follow us on Twitter @cornwallcouncil or use the link on this page to pick up any #tags being used.