Floods are the most common emergency in Aotearoa. Floods are usually the result of continuous heavy rain and/or thunderstorms, but may also be caused by tsunami and coastal-storm inundation.

Flash floods occur rapidly and are generally the result of a sudden downpour overhelming the drainage systems.


Prepare for floods

  • Find out from your local council if your home or business is at risk of flooding.
  • Know where the closest high ground is and how to get there.
  • Develop a Whānau Emergency Plan. Use this template –  [Whānau Emergency Plan]
  • Prepare your Emergency Go Bag with food, water and other important supplies.
  • Check with your local Civil Defence if there is a community flood evacuation plan.

If flooding is expected

  • Consider using sand bags to keep water away from your home.
  • Move or raise valuable household items if time permits to prevent damage.
  • Collect as much clean water as possible to use in the coming days.
  • Turn off water or electricity supply to prevent damage if instructed by council or Civil Defence.
  • Move animals or livestock to higher grounds.

During a flood

  • Listen to news or emergency updates and instructions from Civil Defence.
  • Be prepared to evacuate quickly with your whānau. Don’t forget your pets.
  • Do not walk, swim, or drive through flood water.
  • Boil water for drinking and cooking as water from the tap could be contaminated

After a flood

  • Continue to listen to news updates, and instructions from Civil Defence to find out if it is safe to travel.
  • Stay away from damaged areas.
  • Throw away food and drinking water that has come in contact with floodwater including canned goods.
  • Discard wooden spoons, plastic utensils and baby bottle teats and dummies if they have been covered by floodwater.
  • Disinfect metal pans and utensils by boiling them in clean or properly treated water.
  • Continue to boil water for drinking and cooking until you get the all clear from your local council.
  • Clean, dry and air out your house to avoid mould building up. If there is mould, hire professionals to clean up the mold.