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In January 2005, a storm of hurricane proportions, raged on the Baltic sea, resulting in severe floods in many regions of the Baltics.

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Warning signs

  • You hear or see a warning about flooding.
  • You notice a rise in the water level.

Worth knowing

  • Generally, floods caused by high water levels are forecast in advance. Flooding caused by heavy rainfall cannot be predicted well in advance, nor can inhabitants be warned.
  • Flooding could lead to a number of serious hazards: drowning, hypothermia, electrocution, contamination of drinking water, failure of the sewerage system, building and property damage, etc. Also, vital services (electricity, water, sewerage, communications, etc.) may be disrupted and access to help could be restricted.

How to be prepared for flooding

  • Find out whether your home is in an area at risk of flooding, see the web map of the Land Board Geoportal at Determine the water level that poses a risk to your household.
  • Assess the flood resistance of your home and, if necessary, reinforce it or perform reconstruction works – seal lower openings, create the possibility to close the sewerage, move switchboards higher, etc.
  • Get ready for the disruption of vital services.
  • Read about the criteria of warnings to be given and the meaning of danger levels of sea and internal water bodies on the website of the Estonian Weather Service at

How to act if you have received a flood warning

  • Follow the information transmitted through official information channels and the code of conduct.
  • Find out whether your home or the place you are staying is in danger. Real-time information on the water level can be obtained from the website of the Estonian Weather Service:
  • Be prepared for power outages and road closures.
  • Charge your mobile phone and power bank, store drinking water, food and motor fuel.
  • Make sure that you have a flashlight and battery-powered radio and sufficient batteries.
  • If necessary, build water barriers to protect your home (such as sand bags in front of doors and windows).
  • If possible, close the openings connected to sewerage pipes and other communications.
  • Switch off the electricity if there is a risk that the water may reach the electrical system; also, when leaving home.
  • Take all domestic property and chemicals that may cause contamination (fuel, cleansers, etc.) to higher ground, to avoid contact with the water.
  • Pick up any items around the building that could be washed away by the water.
  • If the estimated increase of the water level jeopardises your home, prepare to leave before water floods the area. (See Chapter “Evacuation”)
  • Follow the orders given during evacuation.
  • Be prepared for evacuation even if the estimated increase in water level is not jeopardising your home, as the weather conditions may change. Pack items necessary for the evacuation. (See information box “Recommended means for evacuation”)
  • Do not leave pets in a potential flood area.

How to act DURING the flood

  • Follow the official information channels and the given instructions.
  • Evacuate before the flood extends to your home. To leave, use roads the water has not yet reached.
  • If the water suddenly enters the building, move to a higher floor. Take along the items necessary in the event of an emergency: telephone, battery-powered radio, blankets, medicines, food and clean drinking water.
  • Avoid moving around in the flooded area without reason.
  • Call the emergency number 112 to get help and make your location visible or heard to the rescuers.
  • Avoid contact with water that has entered the building.
  • If you are forced to walk through the water, use a stick or branch for measuring the depth of water and finding a safe way.
  • If you lose your footing while in water and find yourself at risk of drowning, do not struggle; instead, try to float on your back towards buildings, trees or a shallower place.

Worth knowing

  • Avoid moving around the flooded area, as the danger on the ground and the depth of the water are not visible – manholes may have opened, masses of water could move in a dangerous way, you could be electrocuted, hit by floating items, there is a risk of hypothermia, the water may be contaminated, etc.
  • You may stay on higher floors without calling for help if you know that you can cope there on your own. Even so, inform your relatives or acquaintances of your location.

How to act AFTER the flood

  • Return home only after receiving instructions from authorities to do so.
  • Start pumping out water from the building only after the surrounding water level has fallen below the floor level.
  • Let the specialists check the safety of your electricity and heating system, functioning of the sewerage and cleanliness of the drinking water before you start using them again.
  • Do not use food damaged by flooding.
  • Do not use electronic devices damaged by flooding.
  • Dry and clean the rooms as soon as possible.
  • If the damaged property is insured, contact the insurer before the start of cleaning works.

What to do in a crisis

Every state does whatever it can to prevent or respond to crisis situations. Still, help will not always reach all people quickly enough because some crises can affect a large part of the population and last for days or even weeks.

Until help arrives and services are resumed, your welfare and that of your loved ones will largely depend on your own preparedness.

The web page “” contains tips on how to get prepared for various types of crisis situations and what to do if there actually is one.

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