Flooding support resources for Dorset communities

Published: 22 May 2024

It has been an exceptionally wet autumn and winter in Dorset. It was the third wettest October to February period since records began in 1871 for the Upper Dorset Stour and the Lower Dorset Stour and River Crane.


Together with our partners, Dorset Council and the Environment Agency have been working closely together to respond to flooding when it occurs, and to support communities to recover. As climate change makes wetter winters and extreme weather events more likely, community resilience is more important than ever, and we will continue to support communities to be as prepared as they can be for flooding.


Please find attached a flood action guide with preparedness information, and a recovery guide for those recently affected by flooding. We would be grateful if you could share these on your website, to make them easily accessible to members of your community.


Reporting Flooding


Reporting of flooding is crucial for incident response and also for long term planning of flood risk reduction measures. If your community has been impacted by flooding but it has not been reported, then the relevant authorities may not be aware of what has occurred.


  • The portal for non-emergency reporting is the Flood Online Reporting Tool: FORT - Home (geowessex.com). This information is shared with risk management authorities to ensure it goes to the correct organisation.


In an emergency, if there is a risk to life, report flooding to 999.



  • For main rivers: Environment Agency incident hotline (24hr) 0800 80 70 60






Being Prepared


  • If you have an emergency plan, it is advisable to regularly review and exercise the plan, to ensure the details are up to date and that individuals are clear on actions to take. Having a plan will help your community respond quickly to emergencies such as flooding, reducing stress and confusion, and helping to mitigate the impacts.




  • Some communities have community emergency volunteer or flood warden schemes. These volunteers do not do the job of the emergency services, but they can help a community enact its emergency plan, identify who is vulnerable and may need help, and in some cases communicate with the authorities.  


  • Communities Prepared is a national resilience programme that equips community emergency volunteers with the knowledge and confidence to prepare for and respond to emergencies. They have a free online hub: https://www.communitiesprepared.org.uk/. There are free self-led courses that include Flood Volunteer, What Happens During an Emergency, and Community Emergency Volunteer Coordinator.


  • The Environment Agency supports community flood wardens and emergency volunteers by offering advice and guidance, and sending out a quarterly newsletter with useful information and news. Duty officers may also reach out to community contacts during an incident. If you would like to be added to the database please email floodwessex@environment-agency.gov.uk.



We know that as well as the economic and physical impacts, flooding can have a serious effect on emotional wellbeing. NHS Dorset provides a free mental health support service which includes talking therapies. Self-referrals can be made online or by phone: Dorset HealthCare :: Steps2Wellbeing


We hope that these resources prove useful for you and your community. Together, we can be ready to respond and recover when emergencies occur.