If there are any reports of serious incidents of flooding our Emergency Management Team will co-ordinate the response and liaise with the Fire and Rescue Service and the Environment Agency.

Preparing for a flood

Prepare for flooding by following some simple steps. Check the Environment Agency website to find out if your area is at risk from flooding and advice on how to protect your propertyYou can also make a personal flood plan or a flood plan for communities and groups. The government website also provides advice for businesses on how they prepare for flooding.

Sign up online for floodline warnings direct. It is a free service that provides flood warnings direct to you by telephone, mobile or email. You can also sign up by calling 0345 988 1188.

The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Resilience Forum has produced a Multi-agency Flood Response Plan which provides a framework for managing the response to floods across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.



It is not our responsibility to protect individual homes or businesses. You must take responsibility for your own property. In some emergency situations, we will instruct Island Roads to position stocks of sandbags at the following locations:

  • Well Road, East Cowes
  • Simeon Street Rec, Ryde
  • St Mary's car park, Cowes

Additional sandbag locations may be identified based upon the forecast impacts of flooding and in areas where the Environment Agency has advised that there is a potential risk of flooding. In instances such as these the additional locations will be issued by Island Roads.


Wherever possible, store full bags that have not come into contact with floodwater in a dry shady place to use again if you need them in the future.

Sacking material is normally biodegradable and will perish if left in place for a long time. It is therefore advisable to empty sacks and keep them dry for re-use. Store the sand in your garden, or yard for future use. If you do not want to store the sand or the bags, once empty the bags can be placed in your normal household waste and the sand dug into the garden, if you have one, or taken to the tip.


Sandbags tend to retain contaminants such as sewage and oils when they come into contact with floodwater. Ensure you wear gloves and wash hands thoroughly after handling.

If sandbags are contaminated by floodwater you should take them to the tip and inform the staff that they have been contaminated. Do not place full sandbags or the sand in your household waste. Do not allow children to play with the sand or place it in sand pits due to the risks from possible contamination.

The following classification guide should be used to identify whether sandbags are contaminated:

  • Deployed to retain raw sewage
  • Deployed to protect / retain sources of oil
  • Deployed to retain surface water / ground water, which has had continual exposure to sewage or oils
  • Smells of sewage or oil
  • Shows visual signs of being contaminated by sewage or oil

If there has been widespread flooding and large quantities of sandbags have been deployed, we may arrange for the collection of used sandbags from specific collection points. If this is the case, we will provide details on where and when collections will be undertaken.

Who to contact

Depending on the situation there are several organisations that may need to be contacted. They are:

  • If you need to be evacuated because of severe flooding or damage, contact the police or dial 999
  • For general issues around flooding, contact us on 01983 823600
  • If you believe the flooding is from a main river or the sea, contact the Environment Agency
  • To report flooding on the highway or drainage issues, contact Island Roads
  • Notify Southern Water if flooding affects your mains sewage/public drains
  • Notify the National Grid to report a gas leak as the result of flooding on 0800 111 999
  • Notify SSE of electrical issues such as power cuts by calling 105
  • For non-emergency calls pertaining to vulnerable older people, call adult services on 01983 823340 (01983 821105 out of hours)

After a flood

In the event of a flood, try to avoid contact with the flood water. Do not drive through flood water and do not let children play in it. Take care if you must go through flood water as there could be hidden dangers like sharp objects, raised manhole covers and pollution. When cleaning up after a flood, wear rubber gloves, boots and eye protection, and wash your hands afterwards. If your home is flooded, do not use petrol or diesel generators indoors to dry out your home. The exhaust gases contain carbon monoxide, which can kill.

The Environment Agency has produced a leaflet called What do I do after a flood? to assist residents and businesses after a flood.