There is increasing interest in using Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in flood risk management activities including in response to flood events. However, there is little evidence that they are used in a structured and strategic manner to best effect. An effective response to flooding is essential if lives are to be saved and suffering alleviated. This study evaluates how UAS can be used in the preparation for and response to flood emergencies and develops guidelines for their deployment before, during and after a flood event. A comprehensive literature review and interviews, with people with practical experience of flood risk management, compared the current organizational and operational structures for flood emergency response in both England and India, and developed a deployment analysis matrix of existing UAS applications. An online survey was carried out in England to assess how the technology could be further developed to meet flood emergency response needs. The deployment analysis matrix has the potential to be translated into an Indian context and other countries. Those organizations responsible for overseeing flood risk management activities including the response to flooding events will have to keep abreast of the rapid technological advances in UAS if they are to be used to best effect.