Students are putting their lives and possessions at risk by leaving themselves vulnerable to the effects of flooding, the Environment Agency has warned.

According to a recent YouGov survey for the Environment Agency, just 1% of full time students – many of whom move frequently and rent – have checked their flood risk in preparation for this winter.

Around 105,000 young people live in areas at medium or high risk of flooding – a fifth of the total population in those areas – but almost half said that they would not know what to do in response to a flood warning.

Other key findings from the survey:

• To prepare for winter, over a third of students had bought an item of winter clothing, but just 1% had checked the flood risk in their local area
• Around one in six students said that having their home flood was the one thing that they were most frightened of
• Students were five times more likely to stockpile food in preparation for winter than to check their flood risk.
• While young people are the age group least aware of their risk, over two thirds (67%) of British adults haven’t checked if their home is at risk of flooding in the last 12 months, despite last winter’s extensive flooding.

John Curtin, Executive Director of Flood and Coastal Risk Management at the Environment Agency, said: “Flooding is an ever present risk and everyone has a part to play in protecting themselves. You can find out if you are at risk online, and sign up to free flood warnings, which provide vital time for people to get themselves, their loved ones and their possessions out of harm’s way.

“Simple actions such as moving possessions upstairs before a flood can save an average of £6000 in damages, so the notice that a flood warning can give is really important.”

The Environment Agency said it is spending more than £2.5 billion to build flood schemes around the country, which will better protect 300,000 homes by 2021.It has also invested in more temporary flood barriers and high volume pumps which can be used at short notice.