Householders in Hellingly have been the first to benefit from a combined initiative by Wealden District Council and East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service to raise awareness about flood prevention.
Doorstep visits by firefighters, community volunteers and Police Community Support Officers has more than doubled the number of homes which are now more aware and therefore flood prepared.
The pilot project identified 474 properties in Hellingly as being at risk from flooding or the effects of flooding. For most, the concern is the effect flooding can have on the local road network. Following the visits, 95 per cent of the householders who were spoken to now feel confident about coping with flooding.
“Local residents appreciated us giving our time to talk about possible flood risks and what to do in a flood emergency,” said Dan Dunbar, East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service Community Volunteer. “They found it useful to talk and find out about the different types of flooding and how it could affect them.
“One resident commented on how he thought the flood advice leaflet looked clear and easy to follow to find the best agency to contact quickly should an emergency occur.”
The recent rise in the number of new homes in Hellingly highlighted the need to make sure everyone was flood aware. Following the success of this Wealden pilot, further awareness projects are being planned to help households in other parts of the district.
“You never know when flooding can occur – it may be day or night whatever the season,” said Councillor Claire Dowling, Cabinet member for Public Health and Community Safety. “But we do know we can expect more extreme weather events. Improvements to flood risk analysis has made it easier to identity those homes where there is a greater risk of flooding. This can be from flooded rivers and watercourses or hillside run-off or, in coastal areas, high tides.”