How do I prepare for floods and what do I do if there is one?

If you’re in imminent danger because of floods, call 112.

How do I prepare for floods in advance?

  • Find out in advance how floods have impacted your area on previous years or how they are expected to spread in case of major flooding. You can use Flood map service(in Finnish) as a reference.
  • Follow flood reports on media.elintarvikkeet_valmis_crop.jpg
  • Check your insurance policy for flood damage coverage.
  • Get to know your building’s rescue plan.
  • Get food, drinking water, first aid supplies, a battery-operated radio, a flashlight, spare batteries, rubber boots and waterproof bags. Charge mobile phones.
  • Plan where you could build a temporary embankment to protect your house using e.g. sand bags.
  • Get sand, sacks and plastic to build the embankment or to cover the house's lower wall with plastic.
  • Purchase a waterpump or make sure you have access to one so that you can pump water out of the protective embankment area or the basement of your house if necessary. Learn how to use the pump.
  • See if it is possible to cover drains and culvert openings to prevent flood water from entering your plot from under the embankment.
  • If there is a risk that your basement might flood, make sure that the sewer check valve is in good condition; also buy plastic sheets that you can place  on top of the basement floor grid well and place something heavy on top of it.
  • Find out which electrical appliances are at risk and how they can be protected (e.g. oil burner.)
  • Protect valuables and harmful substances. Make sure your car is parked in a safe place.
  • Tie down boats and other material that floods might easily carry away.

If there is a risk of flood damage caused by melting snow, in addition:

  • Install surface water passages leading away from the plot through ditches, gutters and culverts beforehand.
  • Remove snow and ice from wells covered with a grid.
  • Make sure the well is not blocked.
  • In some cases, you can also move snow away from risk areas.radio_valmis_crop.jpg


What do I do if there is a flood?

  • Listen to and follow announcements, alarms and instructions (radio, car with loudspeaker, general alarm etc.)kytkin_valmis_crop.jpg
  • If flood rises to a threatening level, turn electricity off from the main switch, and unplug or protect electrical equipment at risk. Do not touch wet electrical equipment.
  • Close all gas valves and oil heating valves.
  • Block sewers, culverts and drains, build a temporary protective embankment around your house or surround the lower part of the house with plastic and keep the inside of the embankment dry with a water pump.
  • Make sure that you know the route which you can follow to leave the flood area and, if necessary, get access to a boat.
  • Watch out for flood water flows - even low water can cause you to fall if it flows fast.
  • Watch out for material floating in the water (tree trunks, docks, etc.)
  • Do not drive on water covered roads. Watch out for road erosion, bridges and sewers with covers out of place.virtausvaara_valmis.jpg
  • Flood water may be contaminated; wash hands if necessary.
  • If possible, take pictures of flooding and damage; this helps speed up the insurance claim process.
  • If you can't get to safety on your own, call 112, tell us where you are and ask for help.


What do I do after the flood?

  • Make sure that living in the area is safe.
  • Ensure that the culverts, rainwater channels and other things that may have been blocked during flood protection work have been restored to normal operation.
  • In particular, make sure that electrical appliances work.
  • List damages and contact your insurance company as soon as possible for instructions on such matters as reimbursement (see page Reimbursement of flood damage (in Finnish)).


More information

Development engineers Antti Parjanne ja Juha Aaltonen, Finnish environment institute SYKE,

Published 2020-05-15 at 9:13, updated 2020-05-15 at 12:50