Preparing for a flood

1. Get informed

If you live in Purley then you are probably already aware of whether your property is susceptible to flooding.  If you are new to the area and would like to find out more, you can use this interactive map or contact your friendly local flood warden. 

If you don't know who your flood warden is, get in touch with us stating which road you live in, and you will receive a reply with your flood warden's contact details.


2. Sign up for flood warnings

The Environment Agency (EA) send out automated flood warning/flood alert messages - a must for anyone wanting to keep ahead of the game when it comes to flood risk.  Messages can be sent by phone, text or email (or all 3).  You can register and set your message preferences online here.


3. Make a flood plan

Download this personal flood planner.

Additionally, check out this excellent article on preparing for a flood from the NFF website.

The usefulness of torches, bottled water and warm/waterproof clothing cannot be understated.


4. Ensure you have adequate insurance

Your insurance company needs to know if your property is at risk of flooding.  Do shop around - some insurance companies are more sensible about flood risk areas than others.

This page at the National Flood Forum contains useful guidance on getting insurance cover.

Culpeck Insurance Services is a specialist insurance broker dealing with flood cover. Call them on 01733 208278 or visit

You may need to provide more information in the form of an 'Insurance Related Request Letter'.  If you are required to do this, please visit this page.


5. Educate yourself on flood defences and flood alleviation

Common misconceptions about sandbags are dispelled in this handy document.

Find out about property level protection (PLP) hereThis website provides an online tool enabling you to input details about your property to ascertain an estimate of what it would cost you to get your property at a lower risk of flooding.

Please check out this useful NFF site on important things to be aware of about flooding.

Do note in particular that it is not a good idea to let your children play in flood water as it is contaminated and has been known on many recent occasions to cause stomach upsets, skin infections and other ailments. Always wear wellies/waders and gloves, and wash your hands after every contact with flood water.

If you know you may suffer from ground-level flooding, you may want to invest in a pump to help expel water from your property to stop it doing any permanent damage.  Please do get in touch with us if you would like further information.


6. Inspect your property to determine what you can do to minimise drainage issues during flooding. 

Drainage pipes, which lead from your home and are your responsibility, are usually 10cm in diameter (about the size of an orange) so they can easily become blocked. The first sign of this is usually when your toilet does not flush away or water will not drain down the sink or bath.

There are a number of ways you can pre-empt drainage issues if a flood event is expected including clearing debris from gutters and inspecting drains and manholes where possible to ensure they are free-flowing with no obstructions.

Regardless of whether a flood is imminent, it is good practise to always avoid flushing items other than toilet paper.  These include wipes, sanitary products, nappies and other bathroom waste which may say on the packaging that they are 'flushable' and may look like they disappear when they are flushed, but they don’t dissolve like toilet paper does when they get past the U-bend and can block up pipes.  Kitchen oil and grease are another common cause of blocked drains: fat and grease may be in liquid form when it is poured away, but it hardens as it cools forming a solid blockage.  Allow kitchen grease to cool down and then scrape any grease from plates, pans and roasting trays into a bin before washing up.  If cooking oil remains in liquid form when cool, pour it into an empty container and put it in a bin.

Are your pipes properly connected?  When mistakes are made in the way that waste pipes are connected around our homes this results in wastewater from washing machines, sinks, baths, toilets etc being sent directly to the local river instead of to the sewage treatment works.  The pollution resulting from misconnections has a huge detrimental impact on the ecology of our streams and rivers.  Homeowners are responsible by law for making sure their waste pipes are properly connected – even if they did not carry out the plumbing that caused the misconnection.  Fixing the problems is often straightforward and not too costly.  Sometimes the domestic surface water pipes (roofs and gutters) are wrongly connected to the foul sewer. When it rains, the foul sewer may become overloaded with the rainwater and cause flooding. Homeowners are also responsible for ensuring their private surface water drainage is properly connected.  Check out this useful website which will help you to determine whether some of your drains may be incorrectly connected.

7. Other useful information

Download this comprehensive guide from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS):  A clear guide to flooding for property owners

See also this useful article on the HomeOwners Alliance website

And check out this flood information and guidance YouTube video:


Help when you get flooded

If you are elderly or infirm, help is available.  Contact your local Flood Warden and they will be able to arrange help or put you in touch with the relevant people at the Parish Council and WBC.


The PFDG takes care to ensure that what we say on this website and elsewhere is as accurate as possible based on research, personal experience and discussions with executive agencies. But when making important decisions (for example, buying or selling a property, or spending money on restoring a property or making it flood resistant or flood resilient) you should NOT rely on the information on this website, or other statements from PFD, to make those decisions. You should check pertinent facts with the relevant authorities such as the Environment Agency; and you should take expert advice from architects, surveyors, lawyers or other qualified people as appropriate. PFD is unable to provide information or advice on specific properties. 

The National Flood Forum (NFF) and the Environment Agency (EA) may be able to help: see Contacts page. The EA will be able to advise on flood risk, whether anything has been done to reduce it and what is planned; they may charge for some information. The NFF can help with advice on insurance and give general advice on flood resistance or resilience measures.

While we provide links to external websites, we cannot be responsible for their content.