Floods are often preceded by warnings such as heavy rain that may make preparatory activities possible in order to prevent flooding from actually happening. However, flood emergency preparedness lacks insight in logistical aspects. This paper develops a framework of logistical aspects of emergency measures that support preventing catastrophic breaching of flood defences during extreme situations. The Netherlands is taken as a reference because large parts of the country are prone to flooding. Furthermore, the Netherlands has a long-standing experience with implementing flood emergency measures. This paper is particularly focused on the role of Water Boards, the Dutch government agencies responsible for securing flood defences. Structured interviews with Water Boards are used to develop and illustrate a framework of logistical aspects for emergency flood preparedness. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.