By Sarah Tawton
Homeowners affected by recent flooding have been urged to take the utmost care when dealing with water-damaged electrics.
The Electrical Safety Council (ESC) is advising people not to tackle any repairs until they are sure that it is safe to do so.
Weeks of heavy rainfall have led to flooding in many parts of southern England, causing chaos on the roads and forcing hundreds of people to evacuate their homes.
Residents have reported water rising to chest height in some areas.
More heavy rain forecast
More homes are likely to be affected over the next few days, as further heavy rain is forecast.
With a major clean-up operation due to get underway in some areas, the ESC has issued a warning to residents about the risks of combining water and electricity.
It has issued advice for flood-hit homeowners, urging them not to put their lives at risk.
ECS spokeswoman Penny Walshe said: "When faced with flooding damage it can be tempting to jump straight in as it's natural to want things back to normal as quickly as possible.
"But it is important to make sure your home is electrically safe before you do anything else.
Call in a registered electrician
"If the water damage to electrics is relatively minor and caused by clean water, ie from a burst water pipe or tank, then the cables will need to be dried.
"And affected electrical accessories such as sockets, switches and plugs will need to be replaced.
"But if there is major flooding damage caused by contaminated water, ie sewage, then there is a chance that affected parts of the house will need to be rewired.
"Take a step back and call in a registered electrician to assess the damage before you try and fix anything else."
More advice and information is available on the ESC website.