Floods: Advice on staying safe

Car in flood
Drivers have been taking their chances in flood water today Photo: ITV News viewer Laura Sear

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service have issued the following advice today:

Safety Tips out and about:**

_Fire and Rescue Service have issued the following guidelines:

_

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Always payattention to warning devices, such as depth gauges

If in doubt,** donot** enter the water in a vehicle or on foot;

If water issafe to enter, always test your vehicle breaks on exiting;

Motorists should slow down, cross in lower gears and keep revs up tomaintain pressure in the exhaust to prevent water getting into the engine.

Motoristsshould not attempt to drive through flooded roads or fords. The water is oftendeeper than it looks and may be moving quite fast. Your vehiclemay be swept away or become stranded. Do notattempt to walk through flooded areas. Even shallow water moving fast can sweepyou off your feet and there may be hidden dangers such as open drains, damagedroad surfaces, submerged debris or deep channels; these can cause seriousinjuries or even death.

Childrenshould not be allowed to play in flood water, which can become contaminatedwith sewerage and chemicals. Do not smoke,eat or drink whilst in contact with floodwater and always wash your handsafterwards. Keep an eyeon weather reports on local television or radio news channels.

Do not travelin heavy rain storms unless absolutely necessary

Safety tips at home**

It is theresponsibility of property owners to take appropriate action to protect theirproperty from flooding.

RingFloodline on 0845 988 1188 for advice.

Householderswho do suffer general domestic flooding are asked to contact their insurancecompanies and not the fire service. Following aflood in your home, make sure all electrical circuits are fully dried out andchecked by an electrical engineer before switching back on.

Look after your neighbours. Peoplehave been known to suffer from hypothermia after their homes have becomeflooded with cold rainwater even in the summer time.

A supply ofsandbags is recommended if you know you are at risk of flooding, and these areavailable from builders’ merchants. Those made with polyester are preferable ifthey are to be stored for long periods. Use sandbags for protecting doorwaysand low level vents. Piped sectionsof watercourses under driveways should be kept clear using rods. Watercoursesor ditches should be kept clear and foliage cut back.

Anyone who has a cellar that may be vulnerable to floodshould contact Hampshire County Council on 0845 603 5633 to see if analternative discharge point can be arranged – ducting to a regular watercoursefor instance.

If flood water is about to enter your home:

Turn off gas,electricity and water supplies if it’s safe to do so – but do not touch sourcesof electricity when standing in flood water!

Disconnectany equipment that uses water (like washing machines and dishwashers).

Put plugs in sinks and baths, and weigh them down witha sandbag, a pillow case or plastic bag filled with garden soil or a heavyobject.

Be prepared to evacuate your home, and have a bag withessential items ready:

Copies ofyour home insurance documents, a torch withspare batteries, a wind-up orbattery radio and a fullycharged mobile phone.

Warm,waterproof clothing and blankets, first aidkit and prescription medication, bottled waterand non-perishable food for you and your pets and a list ofimportant contact numbers.

Leave your home if the emergency services say so. Refusingto leave on their advice will put you, your family and those trying to help youat risk. Remember to lock up your property. Go in, stay in, tune in – regularly check the TV news,teletext, local radio and newspapers for the latest information from theemergency services and your local council.

For further advice and information on local floodwarnings contact the Environment Agency Floodline on 0845 988 1188 orvisit www.environment-agency.gov.uk.

To report weather related issues on highways callHantsdirect on 0845 603 5633.

You can also get further advice and information byvisiting www.hampshireprepared.co.uk.