As the summer fades and winter approaches, it is time to consider if you are prepared for any potential flooding in your area.
Flooding can be incredibly stressful and making sure you are prepared and aware of how to act both before and after a flood could make a big difference to how you manage in such circumstances.
With this in mind, Cllr Norman MacRae, Cabinet Member for Environment is urging residents to use the resources available to get up-to-speed:
“Although we continue to work hard with our partners to prevent flooding, we cannot make any guarantees and, recognising that flooding can be devastating, want to make sure everyone knows where to find the information that will help them reduce the risk of their home or business this winter.
“We are committed to supporting our communities safely through the winter period and with a wealth of resources which could really make a difference, I want to encourage home owners and businesses alike to make themselves familiar with the information.”
The authority works alongside the County Council and the Environment Agency to reduce flood risk to homes. There are many resources available to residents including Oxfordshire County Council’s flood toolkit.
If you would like to report a flood you can report to either the County Council or district council emergency response team. Call 999 for immediate assistance if there is a risk to life or a risk of serious property or environmental damage.
10 top tips for staying safe during floods:
1. Make sure you are prepared for flooding before it happens. Sign up for free flood warnings and create a personal flood plan.
2. Flood prevention equipment can help stop flood water getting into your property. Consider using floodboards, sandbags and air brick covers to reduce the impact of flooding on your home or business.
3. Avoid contact with flood water. Driving in flood water significantly increases risk of drowning. Do not drive or walk through flood water and do not let children play in flood water.
4. Check your insurance cover. Don’t underestimate the value of your contents.
5. Know how to turn off your gas, electricity and water mains supplies before flood water enters your home.
6. Feeling distressed after a flood is normal. Support from family and friends is important during the recovery process.
7. Do not use petrol or diesel generators indoors to dry out your home. Exhaust gases contain carbon monoxide, which can kill.
8. When cleaning up after a flood, wear rubber gloves, boots, eye protection, and always wash hands afterwards. Flood water can be hazardous so always make sure you are protected.
9. Move your family, pets and flood kit to a high place with means of escape.
10. Do not turn on gas or electrics if they may be wet. Only turn them on once they have been checked by a qualified technician.
When the Environmental Agency issues a flood alert due to an imminent risk of flooding, we provide sandbags free of charge. We will deliver sandbags to vulnerable residents at times of need. To arrange collection of ready-made sandbags from Witney, please call: 01993 861000.
If residents would like to be extra prepared, the district council will deliver sandbags outside of a flood warning for a fee or they can fill sandbags themselves at our depots across the area.
The council’s out of hours emergency service number is 01513432945. Sign up for the Environmental Agency’s free flood alert service on; 03459881188.
If you are affected by flooding and are in need of temporary accommodation, please call us on 01993 861000.
More information around flood prevention and support for those affected by flooding in West Oxfordshire can be found on our website, here: https://www.westoxon.gov.uk/residents/environment/flooding/