What is the first thing you would save if your house was affected by a disaster?
Have you got an escape route if fire or water should bar you from your front or back door?
If your teenager rang you at work and said the house was hit by a (natural) disaster, who would you call?
If your house was uninhabitable, where would you stay?
Have you talked to your children about using 999 correctly?
These may sound like last-case scenarios and questions, but they have all happened and these questions asked – plus many more and many times over.
SURFACE WATER FLOODING
– is a boring heading for a natural disaster that
hits thousands of home-owners every year, but scary questions such as those above, make us sit up and listen.
FLOOD AWARENESS PROJECT
At Monday night’s packed meeting in the Village Hall (lounge), 20 people (that’s more than they normally have apparently) listened to Mary Dhonau from the Community Flood Consultants, and her colleagues Richard Jones, Flood Investigator and Jo from Northamptonshire County Council’s Flood & Water Management Department, give an update to the Flood Awareness Road Show that was held in July.
Mary made it clear, that when she talks about flooding, she isn’t just talking about homes near rivers. Surface water flooding is the stuff of nightmares as it hits when least expected and to the least expected areas. Anyone living in Bright Trees Road or Wood Street prior to 1998, would have thought their chance of flooding to be pretty poor, but the run-off water from the fields, PLUS the rising ground water from weeks of rain, PLUS a blocked drain, put an end to any complacency that may have been held.
The Government department DEFRA* has overall responsibility for policy and funding of the flood public awareness campaigns and preparing for flood emergencies. Their Pathfinder Community Project document of February 2014 says:
“The increase in the risk of flooding as a result of extreme weather makes it essential for local authorities and communities to engage with this issue. DEFRA is providing grant funding throughout England under a new Flood Resilience Community Pathfinder Scheme aimed at stimulating community action to increase resilience. The measures being developed include proper protection, flood resilience groups, volunteer flood wardens and community champions, engagement with more vulnerable groups and efforts to increase financial resilience.”
On Monday night, Mary and her colleagues advised those present and the Parish Council, as eight Councillors were present, of the funding that is available for the community and for individuals. There will be:
- A community flood store, which will contain items that can be used during floods, ie hi-viz jackets, wellies, brooms, pumps – the list of available items is very long
- A rain gauge in the school (one of only two counties to have one), which will help to warn of potential surface water flooding
- Flood alerts that can be received by those who sign up for them
- Free property surveys to mitigate against flooding (normal cost: £500 – £1000)
- Products to prevent flooding such as: air-brick covers, inflatable sandbags, toilet bungs (to stop water coming up from the sewers) and many more items, all at reasonable prices.
PLUS many, many more defence ideas and information. In fact the NCC have produced 20 leaflets which cover every aspect of floods, from Agricultural Run-off to Roles & Responsibilities for Sewer Flooding; from Riparian Responsibilities to Flood Related Roles of Parish Councils. A complete list is set out below and if anyone wants a copy of any of them, please contact the website via firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.northamptonshire.gov.uk
Mary asked for potential volunteer flood wardens as there will be a Flood Warden Day on 15 November, where all responsibilities and duties of this position(s) will be explained.
In January 2015, Richard Jones will walk around Geddington, looking at sewers, gullies, ditches, bridges – in fact anywhere that can be blocked – and a maintenance regime will then be offered.
Finally, Mary said she couldn’t stress enough, how important it was for every household to have a Home Emergency Plan, that her Plan had stood her in very good stead over the 14 times she had been flooded. The voice of experience was very impressive and she finished with: “Don’t rely on SANDBAGS – they are worse than useless! They won’t store, are heavy, let too much water through, are a short-term and one-time use product, they are a last resort product and there are so many more useful products that have been proven to work so much more effectively and successfully.”
*Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – www.gov/uk/defra.
1 Flooding: Agricultural Run-off
2 Flooding: Ditch Clearance
3 Flood Incidence Investigations
4 Flooding: Watercourse Management
5 Flood Related Benefits of the Water Framework Directive
6 Reservoirs and Flooding
7 Funding for Flood Alleviation
8 Roles & Responsibilities for Sewer Flooding
9 Highway Flooding: Roles & Responsibilities
10 Groundwater Flooding
11 What to do in a Flood Emergency
12 How to Protect Your Home from Flooding
13 Insurance and flood Risk
14 Using Experts for Flood Risk Assessment
15 Riparian Responsibilities and Flood Risk
16 Land Drainage Consenting
17 Using Agricultural Land for Flood Attenuation
18 Flooding: Flood Warnings
19 Flood Related Roles of Parish Councils & Communities
20 Buying a House – Is there a Flood Risk?