accessibility & help

Red Cross urges people to prepare as UK faces flash floods

Thursday 14 of January 2010 
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Henry Makiwa

Telephone: +44(0)207 877 7479, email:, out of hours 07659 145 095 

Shadow Chancellor George Osborne to visit British Red Cross volunteers

The British Red Cross has today (14 January 2010) urged people to prepare against flooding as weather experts warned that large parts of the country could be  affected by flash floods.

Martin Annis, Head of Emergency Planning at the British Red Cross said: “The warning that flooding is likely in some parts of the country should be taken seriously. We know from our experience in Cockermouth earlier this year and from the floods in 2007 that a few simple acts can make all the difference.”

There are fears that flash floods could hit the UK as warmer temperatures and heavy rain follow the severe freezing conditions that have enveloped the country in the past month.

“We urge people to observe simple tips when preparing, such as packing essential items and documents they will need if evacuated, preparing an emergency kit with water and first aid pack; as well as keeping a regular check of TV and radio updates,” he added.

The British Red Cross are urging people to do the following:

• Prepare an emergency kit including emergency numbers, insurance policy, first aid kit, torch and water. 
• Keep important personal documents in a sealed bag.
• Pack essential items you will need if evacuated – medication, clothing, toiletries and items for children.
• Turn off the mains power and water, and take mobile phones and chargers with you.
• Don't walk, swim or drive through floodwater – just six inches of fast-flowing water can knock you over and two feet will float a car!
• Don't walk on sea defences or riverbanks, cross river bridges if possible.
• Avoid contact with floodwater – it may be contaminated with sewage.
• Don’t allow children to play in or near flood water
• See if vulnerable neighbours need any support.

The organisation is providing flash floods preparedness advice on its website: and also advises people to visit the websites of DirectGov and the Environmental Agency to check if they and their homes are at risk of flooding.

The extreme weather conditions experienced across the UK has resulted in one of the busiest periods for British Red Cross staff and volunteers in 30 years. As part of a huge response across the country Red Cross volunteers have been supporting ambulance services, transporting patients and crucial medical staff, helping stranded motorists, using village wardens to check on older people and getting hot water and food to people cut off without power.

Shadow Chancellor George Osborne will be meeting British Red Cross volunteers from across Cheshire in Knutsford tomorrow to thank them for their efforts during the recent severe weather crisis. 

Last year, the British Red Cross played a leading role in the response to the flooding in Cockermouth, delivering food, water and hygiene kits to people in affected areas. The charity is still involved in supporting people through the recovery phase.


Notes to editors

For further advice on flooding please contact the Environment Agency and DirectGov. In Scotland, advice is available from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

Call “Floodline” on 0845 988 1188 to find out if your home is at risk.

The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.

We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.