After a Flood

Maintaining health during and after floods and storms

Floodwater can be extremely polluted. It is important to understand how to reduce your risk of injury, sickness or infection during floods and storms.

  • If you need emergency assistance in a flood or storm, call the State Emergency Service (SES) on 132 500.
  • For a medical, police or fire emergency call Triple Zero (000).
  • Suspicious or unusual activity can be reported to the NSW Police Crime Stoppers Hotline: 1800 333 000.
  • Health advice is also available 24 hours a day from healthdirect Australia on 1800 022 222.

It is normal to feel a mix of emotions in emergency situations and these emotions should pass with time. People who use the support of family, friends, church or other organisations are generally found to recover well from stressful situations such as these. However, there are times when extra support may be needed. If you experience a prolonged period of distress, please contact your GP. 

Flood warnings

When you know or suspect that a flood warning has been issued for your area, do the following:

  • Listen to your local radio station for updates.
  • Check that your neighbours have heard any warnings.
  • Prepare yourself and your property.

​You may also need to do the following:

  • Move garbage containers, chemicals and poisons beyond the reach of the water.
  • Secure objects that might float away and cause damage;
  • Move stock and equipment to high ground.
  • Stack your furniture and other possessions beyond the reach of the water. Place electrical goods on top.
  • Check your car and keep it full of fuel.

The State Emergency Service (SES) is responsible for responding to floods and storms in NSW. The SES website has more information about what to do if there is a flood warning.

Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) has information about road closures due to floods. Ring 132 701 for the 24 hour traffic enquiry line.

Drinking water

If a 'boil water' alert has been issued in your area, observe it strictly to prevent illness. Water for consumption should be brought to a rolling boil and then be allowed to cool and refrigerated in a clean container with a lid. Under no circumstances should water that has not been boiled be consumed until the alert is lifted. Alternatively bottled water may be used.

Cooled boiled or bottled water should be used for:

  • Drinking
  • Cooking
  • Washing raw foods (such as seafood or salads)
  • Making ice
  • Cleaning teeth
  • Pet's drinking water

Dishes should be washed in hot soapy water or in a dishwasher. Children should take bottled or cooled boiled water to school.

Listen to your local radio station for updates. When the 'boil water' alert is lifted, follow the water supplier's instructions about flushing the household water pipes.

Fact Sheets and Resources