Advice for Residents

Find out if you are at risk, how to prepare for an emergency and useful links


  • Are you at risk?
  • How to prepare for an emergency
  • Flooding and Sandbag Policy
  • Preparing for a power cut

Are you at risk?

Start by checking your local area and find out if you are potentially at risk.

  • Is my home at risk of flooding?
  • What would I do if my house was on fire?
  • Have I identified alternative escape routes in the event of fire?
  • Do I live near industrial sites or a major transport route?
  • Do family members know what to do in an emergency?
  • Do I have neighbours that might welcome help during an emergency

How to prepare for an emergency

Here are some things that you could do now.

  • Find out how to turn off your gas, electricity and water supplies at the mains
  • If you live in an area prone to coastal flooding or flooding from nearby rivers, sign up to the Environment Agencies Floodline Warnings Direct service.  This will provide you with early warnings if flooding is likely
  • Register for UK Power Network Priority Service Scheme
  • Agree with your family and friends where you would meet and who you would contact if you were evacuated from your home or were unable to return to it.  This will ensure that your family stays in contact with each other
  • Keep a list of all family and important contact numbers in a handy and safe place.

You can register to receive flood warnings about river and sea flooding from the Environment Agency.

You can register to receive a priority service with local utility companies like UK Power Network, Affinity Water and Anglian Water.

They can offer you extra support in power/water cuts.  If you think you may qualify for such schemes following the links provided below.

Flooding and Sandbag Policy

Colchester Borough Council does not provide sandbags to residents and businesses at risk of flooding.  Householders and businesses at risk are strongly advised to prepare their own flood protection measures in advance of periods of higher flood risk.  Independent advice on flood protection measures and resources is available from the National Flood Forum, which has prepared "Blue Pages" - a directory of flood protection products and services.  Some useful links are provided below.

Put together a "Grab Bag"

If you were to be evacuated at short notice, it can be a good idea to have a 'grab bag' containing essential items. Keep this bag in an accessible location and ensure the whole family knows where it is. 

You could include:

  • A list of important family and other contact numbers.
  • Doctor's/Carer's contact details.
  • Medication and details of any medication regularly taken.
  • Copies of important documents (birth certificates, passports, insurance policies etc.).
  • Bank/Credit card details (can be added at the last moment).
  • Spare house/car keys.
  • Toiletries.
  • Spare glasses.
  • Torch / radio (possibly wind up)
  • Baby/childcare items if appropriate.

Preparing for a power cut

Below is some advice on how residents can prepare for a power cut:

  • Keep the power companies' contact number handy.
  • See their website for some useful videos offering you advice during a power cut.
  • Keep spare batteries for radios and torches - local radio stations often broadcast helpful information.
  • Keep an old-fashioned corded phone which you can plug in, as cordless phones won't work in the event of a power cut.
  • Dress warmly in several layers of clothing, stay in one room or even get into bed
  • Take care if using candles, tea-lights and other naked flames.
  • Keep fridges and freezers closed, with a blanket over as they will stay cold for many hours if unopened,
  • Switch off all your electrical equipment, except one light which will let you know when the power comes back on.
  • Remember the street lights may also be off, so take care if you go out.
  • Look out for elderly neighbours; please consider taking them round a flask of hot water or hot food

For more detailed advice and plan templates, contact the emergency planning team or call 01206 282222