The responsibility to protect your property is that of the occupant. Three Rivers District Council's policy is not to supply sandbags. You can purchase materials for sandbags from a builder's merchant or large DIY store.
If you are at risk of being flooded, you might want to consider keeping some empty sandbags and sand or earth ready for use at the first sign of trouble.
The Environment Agency website has advice and information about preparing your property for flooding, including a leaflet on how to use sandbags.
If you own land or property alongside a river or other watercourse, including a culvert, you have rights and responsibilities as a riverside property owner. Your responsibilities are explained in a useful guide available from the Environment agency at Riverside ownership: rights and responsibilities.
The Environment Agency has powers and responsibilities to manage flood risk from main rivers, and works with others to maintain and improve main rivers throughout England. They provide useful information if flooding is likely in your local area - Environment Agency - Flooding.
Hertfordshire County Council is the Lead Local Flood Authority for Hertfordshire and has the role of managing flood risk from surface water and groundwater. View Hertfordshire County Council - Flooding for further information. Hertfordshire County Council have a duty to ensure that roads and pavements are in a safe and usable condition - if the road, pavement or subway becomes flooded it can become very dangerous and must be addressed as quickly as possible.
If there is flooding of the highway, it should be reported using Hertfordshire County Council - Highways fault reporting system or telephone 0300 123 4047.
Flood Warning - Environment Agency
Advance flood warnings can be viewed on the Environment Agency and Met Office websites. Environment Agency - Flood Warnings. Members of the public and businesses can also register with the Environment Agency to receive flood warnings via their Floodline Warnings Direct service.
Further information about how to do this is available either by calling Floodline on 0345 988 1188 or from Environment Agency - Floodline Warnings Direct.
To find out if you could be living in a flood risk area, follow the link to the latest information on the Environment Agency's website Environment Agency - Am I at risk of flooding?.
If you are shown to be at risk of flooding, make sure you are up to date with the latest flood advice available from either the Environment Agency's Floodline service (0345 988 1188) or their website and what you can do to prepare.
Staying Safe in a Flood
Floods can be dangerous, so here is some general advice.
Don't try to walk or drive through floodwater. Only six inches of fast flowing water can knock you over. Two feet of water will float your car. If you must go through flood water remember to go very slowly. The bow wave you create could cause flood water to go into someone's home. Manhole covers can be lifted in a flood and there may be other hazards you can't see.
- Never try to swim in fast flowing water - you may get swept away or be struck by an object in the water.
- Don't walk on sea defences, riverbanks or cross river bridges - they may collapse in extreme situations or you may be swept off by large waves or surges of water.
- Avoid contact with floodwater - it may be contaminated with sewage.
- Move your family and pets upstairs or to higher ground if threatened by floods. Move anything you can upstairs if possible.
- Switch of water, gas and electricity supplies at the first sign of flooding to your property.