Take steps to protect yourself from flooding, Fenland Council says

March floods, Cherrywood Avenue (PHOTO: Barry Feetham)

March floods, Cherrywood Avenue (PHOTO: Barry Feetham) - Credit: Archant

Residents and businesses across Fenland are being urged to take some steps to protect themselves against flooding and other emergencies.

Fenland District Council is stressing the need to be well prepared and to know where to turn for help in particular circumstances.

Key advice, including useful contact numbers and websites and a practical checklist for households, is set out in “Preparing for Emergencies”, a free booklet produced by the council last year.

Council leader John Clark said: “At this time of year, the likelihood of flooding, freezing weather or power cuts inevitably increases.

“We and the various other authorities have our own particular roles and duties in such situations but individuals also have a responsibility to take the necessary steps to protect themselves.”

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Precautions that people can take include:

Sign up on the EA’s free Floodline Warnings system. Alerts can be sent by phone, mobile, email, text message and pager. Enrol online at www.environment-agency.gov.uk or call Floodline 0845 988 1188.

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To check the risk to your property of river flooding, visit the Environment Agency flood map at www.gov.uk/prepare-for-a-flood/find-out-if-youre-at-risk and type in your postcode.

Arm yourself with some sandbags - something that Fenland District Council, like most local authorities, cannot provide to individuals or businesses. Sandbags and sand are available from most DIY stores or builders’ merchants. Self-inflating sandbags are also available. Suppliers can be found on the internet or by contacting the National Flood Forum on 01299 403055 or at www.nationalfloodforum.org.uk. An emergency alternative is to use heavy duty refuse sacks filled with sand or earth.

In the event of flooding, different authorities have specific responsibilities and people should contact the relevant one. They are:

Police: Co-ordinate the emergency services in a major flood incident and help with evacuating people from their homes where necessary. Dial 999 only in an emergency; 101 for non-emergency.

Fire & Rescue Service: Respond to all emergency incidents and help public with personnel and equipment where a need is identified. They may also pump out floodwater (there may be a charge for this). Dial 999 only in an emergency; 101 for non-emergency.

Environment Agency: Issues flood warnings for flooding from rivers, the sea and ground water and deals with emergency repairs and blockages on main rivers. Floodline 0845 988 1188 and Incident Hotline 0800 80 70 60.

Cambridgeshire County Council (CCC) Highways: Place flood warning signs on roads, organise road closures and diversions and clear blockages on highway drainage systems. Work with the police, fire and rescue services and the Environment Agency to co-ordinate responses during severe flooding. Investigate disruption caused by overflowing drains from surface water on the roads. 0345 045 5200 (Option 3) or out of hours contact the police.

Anglian Water: Deals with blocked main sewers, and investigates issues with overflowing sewers, e.g. water from roofs and hard standings or from toilets and sinks. Call 03457 145145

Fenland District Council: Liaises with the emergency services and provides temporary emergency rest centres for people evacuated from their homes. Call 01354 654321 for further information.

Met Office: Provides weather updates, including risks of surface water flooding from heavy rainfall.

The Preparing for Emergencies booklet can be viewed online at www.fenland.gov.uk/emergencybooklet. Copies are also available at the Fenland @ your service shops in March, Wisbech and Whittlesey and the Chatteris Community Hub, as well as at business reception at Fenland Hall, County Road, March and the county council libraries.

More detailed advice on flooding, including how to get help afterwards, is available at www.gov.uk/prepare-for-a-flood and www.fenland.gov.uk/article/9142/

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