WELLS FLOOD ACTION PLAN (May 2016) Mike and Marie Strong Joint Co-ordinators
Flooding information with reference to non-residents, second home owners, businesses including holiday lets, bed & breakfast, hotels, shops etc.
If you are responsible for any type of non-residential property you will know that the duty of care lies with you and will have asked yourself ‘Does my insurance cover flooding?’ ‘Is my business prepared for flooding?’ You will have contacted the Environment Agency (03459 88 11 88) and checked if you are at risk of flooding. If confirmed you will have asked to be registered for Flood Warnings Direct (FWD). You will have registered your telephone number, mobile and email address. If you do not live in Wells you will have asked to receive FWD for ‘area of special interest’ i.e. the location of your property.
In checking your duty of care the following are a few, but certainly not exclusive, things to consider:
Access information on flood defences at www.environment-agency.gov.uk – read the links Prepare for flooding; Prepare your property for flooding; National Flood Forum – Blue Pages Directory. Access the National Flood Forum direct at nationalfloodforum.org.uk or 01299 403 055. You can also access: National Flood Forum – property protection advisor.
If you are not resident in Wells ask whoever is responsible for looking after your property or business to register for warnings; ensure you keep the responsible person informed as to who is staying or working in the property; ensure they have contact numbers to warn and inform visitors or staff. Regularly check your flood defences; ensure you have arranged for someone to put the defences in place (and perhaps a back-up). If you have a holiday let get advice from the EA as to visitors registering for warnings before they leave home. Purchase local tide tables for yourself, ‘caretaker’, visitors.
Note there are seven at risk sectors scattered around the town and warning messages may be issued to some sectors but not necessarily all – another reason to be registered for your property and not rely on others or news bulletins.
Should you receive a Severe Flood Warning it will include reference to evacuation. A decision to evacuate will be a ‘multi-agency’ decision involving amongst others the EA, Police, County and District Councils. If a decision is taken to evacuate, the Alderman Peel School, the designated evacuation centre, will be opened. See Wells Town Council Website: Flood Information for a diagram, copy to use with your evacuation plan.
It is important to understand that the Wells Flood Warden Team consists of 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 vast majority of property owners know they have a duty of care and those who were present on the night of 5 December 2013 will tell you that preparation is essential for saving not only lives but property.