Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service is receiving a number of flood related calls in to our control room. An amber weather warning for wind and rain is in place across parts of the UK and the winds are expected to get stronger into the evening.
There are a few simple checks you can do to make sure you stay safe in inclement weather.
If you are travelling:
- If you have to travel, prepare before you leave by planning your route and checking for road closures, listen out for travel updates and have a fully charged mobile phone with you
- Even moderate rain can reduce your ability to see and be seen. A good rule of thumb is ‘if it’s time for your wipers, it’s time to slow down’
- If heavy downpours are expected, avoid starting your journey until it clears
- If you can, choose main roads, where you are less likely to be exposed to fallen branches and debris and flooding
- Gusts of wind can unsettle vehicles – grip your steering wheel firmly with both hands. This is particularly important when planning to overtake
- Keep an eye out for gaps between trees, buildings or bridges over a river or railway – these are some of the places you are more likely to be exposed to side winds. Ensure that you maintain enough room either side of your vehicle so you can account for it being blown sideways
- Roads will be more slippery than usual in wet weather – be sure to give yourself more time to react when approaching a hazard. Increase your following gap to at least four seconds from the moving traffic in front
- Keep your eyes peeled on the road at all times as spray from other vehicles can suddenly reduce your visibility. Remember it affects others too, so anticipate their actions and be prepared
What to do when the road is flooded:
- If the road is flooded, turn around and find another route. The number one cause of death during flooding is driving through flood water, so the safest advice is turn around, don’t drown
- Although the water may seem shallow, just 12 inches (30cm) of moving water can float your car, potentially taking it to deeper water from which you may need rescuing
- Flood water also contains hidden hazards which can damage your car, and just an egg-cupful of water sucked into your car’s engine will lead to severe damage
- Never drive through flood water. Turn around
- Keep an eye out for cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians - give vulnerable road users including cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians more room than usual. They are more likely to be blown around by side winds – always keep a safe distance
If you are concerned about your home, here are some things to consider:
- Check for loose items outside your home such as bins, plant pots and shed doors and plan how you could secure them in high winds
- A list of useful contact numbers - including your local council, utility providers and your insurance company
- How to shut off your electricity or gas supply
- Move your valuable belongings to a safe place
- What would you need to move to safety during a flood – think about your pets, car, furniture
- Who could you ask for help?
- Could you offer to help vulnerable friends or neighbours?
For flood updates visit https://check-for-flooding.service.gov.uk/