Wells Flood Action Plan (May 2016) Mike and Marie Strong, Joint Flood Co-ordinators
The following information is for residents living in flood risk sectors of Wells. See the separate section with information regarding non-residential, holiday lets and other commercial properties.
House purchase documents should reveal whether you live in a flood risk area, some rental details may also give this information. But whether you have moved recently or have lived in your home for years – check. First call the Environment Agency on 03459 88 11 88. If it is confirmed that you are in a flood risk sector ask to be registered for Flood Warnings Direct (FWD). You can register your home telephone number, mobile and email address. If you believe a vulnerable family member or friend may live in a flood risk area talk to them about your checking and offer to ask the EA for you to receive warnings for their property (you ask to receive FWD for an ‘area of special interest’).
For information on flood defences go on line to: www.environment-agency.gov.uk read the links Prepare for flooding; Prepare your property for flooding; National Flood Forum – Blue Pages Directory. The National Flood Forum can be accessed directly on nationalfloodforum.org.uk or 01299 403 055. If you do not have access to a computer the staff at the library will assist you in finding the information.
Once you have purchased flood defences they need checking regularly and you will need to ensure that if you are away someone else will put the defences in place. Check if vulnerable neighbours have someone to put their defences in place.
The Wells Flood Warden team is a small group of volunteers who assist in warning and informing residents at risk of flooding. Warning and informing are the only duties wardens are permitted to carry out; to be a Warden requires signing a document stating you will not lift or carry heavy objects, will not walk in flood water. Wardens are not to erect flood defences and the team is not supplied with sand bags. The work the team do carry out makes best use of local knowledge and releases uniformed officers for duties elsewhere.
Each year members of the team visit residential properties in at risk sectors to ask for details of the residents, including telephone numbers and details of any with special needs. When the Environment Agency has issued a warning of flooding the Flood Wardens will endeavour to telephone residents, checking if they have received and understood the warning, if they will be evacuating and if so where to, contact numbers for that destination if other than the Evacuation Centre. The Wardens will also check if special transport for the more vulnerable will be required when evacuating.
The FWD warning you receive will be a flood warning or the more serious severe flood warning. The latter warning will normally advise evacuation. The final decision regarding evacuation will be a ‘multi-agency’ decision involving amongst others the EA, Police, County and District Councils. Once a decision has been taken to advise evacuation the Alderman Peel School, the designated Evacuation Centre, would be open (check map).
There are seven at risk sectors and warning messages may need to be issued to some sectors but not necessarily all. This is why you need to be registered for FWD warnings, which when issued will be specific to your property and these are the warnings you need to heed.
Flood Wardens are registered for warnings related to their allocated sectors so will know which warning the residents in their sector have received. The Flood Warden Co-ordinators receive all the messages, including an early alert, and will be in contact with the Environment Agency, the Police and the District and County Emergency Planning Officers.
Those people who were in Wells on the night of 5 December 2013 will say that preparation is essential for saving not only lives but property.