Growing up in York, seeing the River Ouse flooding surrounding fields and riverside pubs and shops was fairly common place but we’ve never really been at risk ourselves. I’ve experienced a couple of situations at work where my classroom has flooded after a storm or seen roads flooded and impassable but it has never affected my home. Many years ago when I lived in a flat in Leeds I came home from work one day to find the River Aire had burst it’s banks and the road was flooded. I parked at the top of the street, and waded to our building, grateful to live on the third floor. By the time Will got home from work later that evening, all the water had subsided and that was that.
We’ve all seen shocking pictures on the news of people’s homes and businesses flooded over recent years. Christmas 2015, when York was severely affected, I was sitting at my parents’ watching the news, struggling to reconcile all the images of such familiar places under water. I suppose it’s one of those things we tend to think won’t happen to us, but when you see it that close to home and you realise it could happen to any of us.
There are three levels of flood warnings used by the Environment Agency but do you know what they mean? Would you know what to do if a warning was issued? A recent survery conducted by UKDN Waterflow (LG) found that in fact 72% of us weren’t sure what we would do if our homes were flooded! Only 21% were able to correctly identify the Environment Agency’s Flood Alert symbol and an overwhelming majority didn’t know the difference between a Flood Warning and a Severe Flood Warning.
A “Flood Alert” is issued between 2 days and 2 hours before flooding is expected. This means flooding is possible and is your chance to get prepared.
- Be prepared to act on your food plan.
- Prepare a flood kit of essential items
- Insurance documents
- Mobile phones
- Emergency cash
- Essential medication
- Children’s essentials eg milk, baby food, bottles, nappies, clothing etc
- Check the weather forecast and the government’s flood information service
- Move family, pets and valuables to a safe place
- Turn off gas, electricity and water supplies if safe to do so
- Put flood protection equipment in place (eg sandbags and barriers)
- Stay in a safe place
- Be ready to leave if you are asked to evacuate your home
- Co-operate with the emergency services
- Call 999 if you are in immediate danger