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Flood advice

Remember, you can call Floodline on 0345 988 1188 any time night or day for real-time flood warnings and advice.

In the event of major flooding in the county, we work closely with other agencies to deliver a coordinated approach to the operation.

Flooding safety advice

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.

You are responsible for protecting your own property. Cornwall Council, the emergency services and the Environment Agency will help where they can.

If life is at risk, call 999

When flooding is widespread, it is not possible to respond to every call for help at once, and our priority will be to save lives..

For information about flooding in your area, contact:

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).
  • 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.

Please note that Cornwall Fire, Rescue and Community Safety Service does not hold stocks of sandbags. For advice on using sandbags please visit the Cornwall Community Flood Forum sandbags webpage.

You can buy sandbags from your local builders merchants.  It is recommended that you keep a supply to protect vulnerable areas of your property.

Do not

  • 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.

During a flood


  • Remember that during a storm the emergency services will be very busy. Only call for immediate help 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 suffered from hypothermia after their homes have become flooded with cold rainwater even in summer.

Do not 

  • Attempt to drive through flooded roads or fords - view our water safety page for more information. 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. There may be hidden dangers such as:
    • open drains,
    • damaged road surfaces,
    • submerged debris
    • 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.

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.

Do not 

  • Attempt to turn off the electricity supply while standing in water.

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
    • 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. 

Follow us on Twitter @cornwallcouncil during flooding and severe weather. 

Further information

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