Back to home

 

WE ARE BETTER EQUIPPED NOW. LESSONS HAVE BEEN LEARNED


08:00 - 19 January 2008

"WE are prepared".

That was the message from emergency teams on standby after the region was put on high flood alert.

The emergency services, local authorities and homeowners are all better equipped now to deal with flooding after the devastation caused by the unprecedented June deluge.

Almost immediately after the early weather warnings for Sunday night and Monday were issued by weather experts at the Met Office yesterday afternoon, the emergency services, Hull City Council and East Riding Council sprung into action.

New flood response plans were activated.

And for the first time, the two councils, Humberside Fire and Rescue Service, Humberside Police, the Met Office and the Environment Agency are all working together to assess the risk.

In the event of widespread flooding, response will be prioritised according to the level of risk to residents and vital infrastructure.

It is a very different picture now to that in June, when they pulled together comparatively slowly.

Glenn Ramsden, of Humberside Fire and Rescue Service, said his team are better equipped to deal with severe weather after learning valuable lessons from the summer's flooding.

He said: "Without a doubt, we are more prepared. Lessons have been learned by everyone.

"This is the first time we have been able to activate preventative measures. Already this week, we are confident we have averted flooding because of our swift actions.

"All the agencies have formed a contact group and are sharing information about what is happening where, so resources can be directed exactly where they are needed.

"We must be one of the most well-rehearsed areas in the country for dealing with floods.

"The preventative measures have been brought about by the experiences of June and we have already taken a multi-agency approach, whereas in June we came together gradually.

"We also know where the water is going to back up and we have a bank of resources ready to be directed into those areas."

There are seven high-volume pumps capable of pumping 7,000 litres of water per minute on standby at the Humberside Fire and Rescue Service base in Hull city centre.

Firefighters will take direction from the Environment Agency as to where and when to dispatch and locate the pumps, which have already been active at several locations this week.

More than 2,500 sandbags have been delivered to Burstwick and Hedon and a further 1,000 were sent to Fleet Drain, near Hessle, in the past few days.

Homeowners across the region who also learned from June's downpours have begun preparing for the worst.

Residents are familiar with the drill and already sandbags are being hoarded and items moved upstairs.

Penny Bissett, of Aldenham Park, Kingswood, Hull, was flooded on June 25 and moved back into her property on Christmas Eve.

She said: "All we can do is put items upstairs if we see the water levels rising.

"We're fully aware of the weather warnings and all we can do is pray we are not flooded again.

"We have not put items in the bottom cupboards and all our receipts and important documents are stored upstairs.

"We are much more prepared now then we were before June.

"I think we will always be worried about the threat, it is something that just will never go away."

Joanne Gawthorpe, 36, of Old Chapel Close, Long Riston, said: "People who were flooded last year are obviously preparing themselves for it again.

"I've seen people collecting sandbags and heard them talking about what is going to happen.

"One good thing is people have got together and helped each other out."

Karl Belcher, landlord of the Bay Horse pub in the nearby village of Arnold, said: "Looking outside, the fields opposite are already full of water.

"We had to shut for two days last summer because of the floods, so we are wary of them. Everyone is ready.

"I've been here three years and last summer was the first time we flooded."

Earlier this week, residents in Bilton suffered more misery as the water table rose in the village, causing a second bout of flooding in a number of homes.