Follow safety advice and be prepared if at risk from floods, urges Wiltshire Council

Sandbags are in demand in parts of Wiltshire as ground-level water threatens to flood homes and roads

Sandbags are in demand in parts of Wiltshire as ground-level water threatens to flood homes and roads

First published in News

With more rain expected over the weekend, Wiltshire Council is urging residents to adhere to safety advice and ensure they are as prepared as possible should their homes be at risk of flooding.

The council and its partners are working with local communities to ensure homes and businesses are protected from the impact of flooding.

Rain is expected throughout the weekend and rainfall in neighbouring counties is affecting river levels in Wiltshire. Groundwater levels are still very high.

Coun Jonathon Seed, cabinet member for flooding, said: "We're expecting more rain this weekend and we are working with our partners to keep people who could be at risk from flooding informed.

"We'll have staff supporting those people who are most vulnerable as well as teams out across the county helping to keep roads clear."

This work is being coordinated by the Local Resilience Forum (LRF) which prepares for, responds to and helps with the recovery from local major incidents and emergencies.

Motorists are being urged to drive particularly carefully as the emergency services are already busy helping the most vulnerable and every time they have to help motorists who have got into difficulties driving through floods, this could delay other vital, lifesaving work.

Drivers should never move road closures signs, or attempt to drive through roads which have been closed due to flooding – both of these are a potential offence.

Where roads are open, but have some minor flooding, drivers must slow down and drive according to the conditions.

Many houses are at danger of flooding by the bow wave from fast-moving vehicles, and pedestrians can be drenched with unclean water. This is also an offence and motorists could be prosecuted.

People who see a blocked road are being asked to report it, although it may take some time for the council's highways team to reach minor roads.

If people wish to report a highway issue, they can call the team on 0300 456 0105.

Groundwater and river levels often take days to react to rainfall, so people are being advised to be vigilant in the days following high levels of rain.

The Environment Agency (EA) is continuing to monitor river levels particularly in Malmesbury, Bradford on Avon and Salisbury.

Wiltshire Council is monitoring at-risk areas and working with local people, particularly those who are vulnerable in case water levels rise significantly.

People are being urged to refrain from driving or walking through floodwater because it is never clear how deep the water is or what the water is covering. 

Anyone using portable indoor heating appliances to dry out indoor spaces should make sure there is good ventilation and they should not use petrol or diesel generators or other similar fuel-driven equipment indoors as the exhaust gases contains carbon monoxide, which can kill.

And anyone affected by sewage flooding should try to avoid coming into direct contact with the floodwater and is urged to use warm, clean water and soap to wash hands in after being in contact with flood water, sewage or with items that have been in the water.

If there is no clean water, disposable soapy, wet wipes should be used to clean all parts of your hands and dry them.

For more information and advice visit Wessex Water's website http://www.wessexwater.co.uk/water-and-sewerage/threecol.aspx?id=726

Information is available on the Wiltshire and Swindon Local Resilience Forum website: http://wiltshireandswindonprepared.org.uk/ and details of road closures are available on Wiltshire Council's website www.wiltshire.gov.uk/communityandliving/civilemergencies/emergencynotices.htm#80

Advice from Public Health England and the Environment Agency for people who are at risk of or have been flooding is available at http://www.hpa.org.uk/Topics/EmergencyResponse/ExtremeWeatherEventsAndNaturalDisasters/EffectsOfFlooding/ 

Details of flooding issues can also be found on the Environment Agency website at http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/floods/34678.aspx?type=Region&term=Southwest&from=fl

Updates on road conditions are given through the council’s @WiltshireWinter twitter account.

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