Flooding emergencies

Emergency contacts for flooding

  • Police & Fire Service – 999 – If there is an immediate risk to life call the police (101 non-emergency number).
  • Environment Agency Floodline - 0345 988 1188 - To report a flood or if your property is at risk of flooding from a reservoir or a river.
  • United Utilities – 0345 6 723 723 - If flooding is from sewers or burst water mains.
  • Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council – 01254 585585 – if flooding is from the Highway or a blocked gully.
  • The Flood Hub

Regular updates on the weather

  • tune in to your local radio station for the latest information about flooding and traffic reports
  • check the Met Office Severe Weather Warnings.

Prepare yourself against flooding

Under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, the Council is designated as a Leading local flood authority. As such the Council has a duty to investigate flooding incidents within its area which are considered "necessary and appropriate" to investigate and determine which agencies or individuals have responsibility for taking remedial action.

Instances of excessive surface water and flooding of gullies, roads and properties should be reported to the Council.

For more information please visit the Environment Agency's flood advice pages.

Flood warnings

Flood warnings are the method where the Environment Agency warns of the likelihood of flooding in your area.

They come in 3 different levels –

  • flood alert
  • flood warning
  • severe flood warning

You can receive flood warnings either direct to your telephone or mobile by text - sign up to the Environment Agency Flood Warnings Direct (FWD) scheme and they will alert you to potential forecast and actual flooding in your area.

For more information, please visit the Environment Agency website.

To sign up to flood warnings, please call 0845 988 1188. You can also call Floodline (or Typetalk) on 0845 602 6340 for simple advice on what to do before, during and after a flood.

Preparing yourself and your family from floods

If you live in an area which floods from the river or from blocked drains, it is a good idea to prepare yourself for flooding by putting together a waterproof flood bag (carrier bag/bag for life) or plastic box containing the following -

  • torch
  • radio
  • copy of insurance documents, personal documents & photos
  • basic first aid kit
  • anti-bacterial wipes
  • spare medication and/or prescriptions
  • spare batteries
  • spare charger for your mobile phone

Remember flood water is dirty, full of bacteria and will ruin anything that gets wet. Keep the box or bag in a safe place and make sure that everyone in the home knows what is in the box or bag and where it is kept.

Protecting your home

You are responsible for protecting your own property from flooding. This means being prepared in terms of protecting your home, by purchasing "flood boards", air brick covers, having a stock of sandbags or knowing where you can obtain them.

The Yellow Pages will have valuable information under 'builders merchants', 'sack and bag' or 'DIY stores'. Alternatively call The Builders Centre on 0800 529529 to find your local store. Flood boards and other flood protection products are listed in the blue pages directory compiled by the National Flood Forum.

When flooding happens

Information about what the emergency services or the Council is doing to help you will be broadcast regularly on local radio. Tune in to local radio stations below to help us get information to you in times of emergency.

Responsibility for protecting homes from floods

The owner of a property is responsible for protecting their own property against flooding. If you are a tenant it will be your landlord who is responsible for protecting the property.

You can take legal action against landowners to resolve flooding issues, where legal intervention is required.

The Environment Agency is responsible for flooding from rivers.

Blackburn with Darwen Council highways department has the responsibility to ensure that the roads in the Borough are kept free from flood water as far as reasonably practicable.

Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council may be able to advise regarding localised flooding from ditches, pipes and culverts.


Local councils do not have a legal obligation to store or provide the public with sandbags.

If your property is susceptible to flooding you should be prepared to protect your property using a variety of flood protection products. Advice and guidance on many types of flood protection products can be found at the National Flood Forum.

In a flood situation the emergency services, local authorities and public utility services will try to help where they can, but ultimately the responsibility to protect a property against flooding lies with the owner.