Tuesday 18 February 2014
With the weather forecast continuing to predict wet weather...are you suitably prepared?
The coastal flooding along the east coast earlier in February was not unprecedented with records showing more extensive coastal flooding in 1890 with reports of small boats being able to row up the south esplanade. In more recent times records for St Peter Port harbour show flooding occurring in 1948 when up to 2 metres above the level predicted by tide tables resulted in an evening high tide level of approximately 11.3m above chart datum. This came from the unusual combination of a high spring tide, a storm surge and the funnelling effect of south-easterly gales pushing additional water into the harbour.
However, from an emergency planning perspective, major coastal flooding continues to be one of the island's top three risks.
An emergency plan is in place for responding to major coastal flooding, however there are limitations to what the Emergency Services and States departments can do. Individual preparation and self protection are therefore an important part of resilience arrangements and the following information may help you be better prepared in the event of major or even smaller scale flooding events.
Be aware of weather alerts
The Guernsey and Jersey meteorological service will issue weather warnings which will be broadcast on local media. Tune in to:
BBC Guernsey on FM 93.2 MHz - 1116MW www.bbc.co.uk/guernsey
Island FM FM 104.7 MHz http://www.islandfm.com/
www.channelonline.tv and twitter address is @itvchanneltv
Once flooding has occurred, you can keep up to date on road closures by monitoring the radio stations or checking the Guernsey Police facebook site.
- homeowners, particularly those on coastal sites which are prone to flooding are usually well prepared with sandbags and flood boards at hand. States Works can provide further information about suitable products to protect your home (tel: 246263) but it pays to be prepared in advance to avoid stocks running out. As a last resort, fill double bagged bin bags with soil and protect doorways and air bricks.
Be prepared - homeowners, particularly those on coastal sites which are prone to flooding are usually well prepared with sandbags and flood boards at hand. States Works can provide further information about suitable products to protect your home (tel: 246263) but it pays to be prepared in advance to avoid stocks running out. As a last resort, fill double bagged bin bags with soil and protect doorways and air bricks.
Find out where and how to turn off your Gas (749000) and Electricity (Tel: 0800 5870285) for more advice.
Be prepared to evacuate from your house if significant flooding is imminent. It may help to pack a small bag with essential belongings including any medicines that you might need to take.
- You many need to consider moving people, pets, valuables and sentimental items upstairs or to a high place downstairs.
- Keep a separate list of useful telephone numbers to hand (this should include your insurance company).
- Alert neighbours and assist the elderly, infirm and those with small children.
- Avoid walking and driving through floodwater, there could be hidden hazards including drainage covers that have been removed from their locations.
- Avoid contact with floodwater and wash any exposed parts before handling food or attending to wounds.
What the Emergency Services and States departments will do:
The Emergency Services will plan and work together with other departments or agencies in a co-ordinated fashion where possible, but there are some specific areas of responsibility:
Guernsey Fire and Rescue Service - will assist with pumping out properties but will give priority to flooding involving a risk of life, fire or explosion.
Guernsey Police - will coordinate road management. Secure, protect and preserve the scene(s). Civil Protection Volunteers will assist police in this task, if requested.
States Works - will erect storm boards and signage. Clear drainage channels and support emergency services. They can provide advice to the public about flood protection measures for properties such as flood gates to protect doorways and openings, vent and air brick guards and pipework non return valves. All measures that require pre-planning to ensure the proprietary flood protection equipment is available when required.
Guernsey Water - will monitor and maintain water catchments and wastewater systems, pumping stations and support emergency services. They can provide advice to the public about ways to help keep drainage channels clear. The individuals who have kept drains clear during these extreme weather conditions are invaluable and Guernsey Water would like to thank them for their continued assistance.
The sewerage system is unsurprisingly under great stress at the moment so only severe cases are being prioritised. Please be aware that the foul water system is particularly sensitive and members of the public are asked not to remove foul water covers or make any adaptions which can potentially result in foul water flooding of neighbouring properties within downstream properties. Likewise please do not remove the grate covers from the foul water system, as these pose a considerable danger to someone falling in, and can reach depths of 7 feet.
Guernsey Electricity - Will monitor electricity network and where necessary isolate supplies.
Environment Department - will monitor sea defences and undertake suitable repairs.
Catherine Veron, States Emergency Planning Officer said:
"A debrief was held last week on the response to the coastal and rainfall flooding of the previous week to review what improvements could be made. A number of amendments have been made to individual departments response arrangements but providing more information about the services available and self help measures was felt to be important."