Action to take in advance of flood warning
Undertake a risk assessment of the Church and/or its ancillary buildings. This will help you to establish which areas of the Church site are most at risk of flooding, and enable you to work out a strategy appropriate to the building(s) in question for dealing with an emergency situation.
Appoint a flood officer (whose own home or business is on high ground) to keep an eye on the Church. Assemble a list of volunteers, with their contact details, to assist in an emergency situation.
Keep a list of useful telephone numbers. This should include:
- the Emergency Services
- the Environment Agency (0845 988 1188)
- your utilities suppliers
- your Archdeacon
- your Quinquennial Inspector (QI)
- the Diocese of London’s Parish Property Support Team
- your insurance company
- the local authority
Keep an eye on flood warnings in your area. You can call Floodline twenty four hours a day on 0845 988 1188 or see the Environment Agency website for up-to-date information.
Action to take once a flood warning has been issued
If a flood warning has been issued, which is likely to affect your church and/or its ancillary buildings, here are some basic steps that you should take with immediate action.
Gas, electricity and water
- Put plugs into sinks and weigh them down with something heavy.
- Turn off gas, electricity and water supplies at the mains. Find out where these are in advance of any flood.
- Unplug all electrical items and store as high up as possible or away from the area at risk of flooding.
Reduce flood water getting into your Church
- Ideally, cover doors, windows and airbricks with plywood, sandbags or metal sheeting. The Diocese of London’s Parish Property Support Team can advise on possible sources of sandbags.
- Sometimes it will not be possible to prevent water ingress, in which case the steps below should be taken to limit the damage that is done.
- Keep important parish documents or valuables in a sealed bag, and in a location safe from floodwater.
- If you have any movable furnishings which are of particular value and/or significance, again ensure they are in a place safe from floodwater.
Furnishings and appliances
- Move as much furniture and as many electrical items as you can away from the area of flooding, or raise them up on bricks or blocks.
- Relocate moveable furniture away from walls, as this helps when drying the building later.
- If you can, roll up carpets and rugs and put them somewhere away from the area at risk.
- Leave internal doors open.
In the event of flooding to your Church and/or its ancillary buildings.
If on site, raise the alarm and leave the site, ensuring that no-one else is in or around the building(s). Stay safe during a flood, and try to avoid contact with floodwater.
- Contact the emergency services on 999 or 112.
- Work with the police, fire and rescue services and the Environment Agency (0845 988 1188) to co-ordinate the response during flooding.
- If utilities are affected contact the supplier.
For gas, call National Grid: 0800 111 999
For water, call Thames Water: 08459 200800
For electricity, call your building’s supplier.
- If possible, ensure there is clear access for emergency vehicles.
- Contact your Archdeacon.
- Contact your Quinquennial Inspector (QI).
- Contact the Diocese of London Parish Property Support Team
- Contact your insurance company.
- Contact the local authority.