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Flood risk homes get essential support from Canterbury firefighters

Flooding Awareness Littlebourne2.JPG
Crews carrying out flood awareness in Littlebourne

7 December 2016

Firefighters across Canterbury will be visiting homes in flood risk areas to help elderly residents to be prepared in the event of rising waters and heavy rain. Crews are also carrying out home safety visits at the properties they visit to help keep home owners and their families safe and well this winter.

During each visit crews will be encouraging occupants to sign up to the Environment Agency (EA) flood warnings, helping them to fill out the EA flood plan and giving advice on steps to take in the event of a flood, making sure everyone has all the advice they need.

The visits include homes in:

  • Littlebourne

  • Bridge

  • Patrixbourne

  • Barham

  • Wickhambreaux

  • Canterbury

Canterbury White Watch Manager, Alison Aldridge said: “We have identified areas near the Nailbourne River that are at potential risk of flooding during the periods of heavy rain and rising ground water. The work we’re doing will increase resilience to extreme rainfall events in order to minimise the devastating impacts flooding can have. This is really to give home owners as much support as possible to prepare them, their property and their personal possessions.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) urges everyone in the event of flooding to follow basic safety tips in the home:

  • Call 999 if you believe there is a risk to life or a risk to your property

  • Know how to turn off your gas, electricity and water before the flood water enters your home – if in doubt, consult your supplier

  • Check on your neighbours if it’s safe to do so

  • Avoid walking or driving in or near flood water and keep children away from flood water - there could be hidden dangers like sharp objects, raised manhole covers and pollution  

  • Listen to the local radio, TV and check social media for flood warnings in your area 

  • Visit the Environment Agency website for more advice, flood warnings and to sign up to their Floodline or call 0845 988 1188   

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Crews deliver flood awareness to homes in Littlebourne

As well as flooding support, firefighters offered potentially lifesaving advice and home safety visits to the key target groups such as elderly residents and people with disabilities and long-term medical illnesses.

KFRS Community Safety Manager, Charlie Smith said: “By getting into the community like this, we have an even greater chance of reaching people who need our services the most. It’s something most of us never expect to happen in our homes, but sadly fires can and do happen. We’re asking people to think about those people who might benefit from extra support like their elderly mum, a young parent with a baby or a neighbour with mobility issues. They could be safer after a visit from one of our specially trained advisors.”

Older people are statistically proven to be more at risk of fire during the winter months and are more likely to succumb to ailments as a result of the colder weather. Every year KFRS carries out up to 20,000 home safety visits. As part of the visit the crews assess each home and offer advice on how to make it safer; where appropriate they will fit smoke alarms.

The home safety visits focus on three key areas:

  • Identifying and make the occupants aware of the potential fire risks within the home.        

  • Explain how they can reduce or prevent these risks.

  • Put together an escape plan in case a fire does break out and ensure they have working smoke alarms.    

KFRS is urging people to check on neighbours, relatives or friends who could be at risk this winter, to pay them a visit to help keep them safe and to make sure they, and their home is ready for the winter.

Charlie has some useful areas that would be good to check:

  • Install smoke alarms for them on every floor of the home and make sure they are tested every week

  • Make sure they have an escape route and keep it clear         

  • If they have a chip pan, replace it with a thermostat-controlled electric deep fat fryer

  • Make sure all plug sockets are not overloaded

  • If they smoke, make sure they use an ash tray

  • Make sure the filter in the tumble dryer is cleaned regularly

  • Ensure that portable heaters are kept away from curtains and furniture and are not use to dry clothes

  • Make sure that the chimney is swept regularly

  • Ensure that all candles are secured in a holder

Charlie said: “With the busy lives most of us lead, it’s easy to lose sight of what really matters, but if the worst happens; would your family know what to do? By booking a FREE home safety visit, our teams can fit vitally important smoke alarms – every home should have at least one. Our advisors can also tailor the visit to suit the needs of each person they visit, including those who are deaf or hard of hearing. We can provide alarms with special features such as strobe lighting, vibrating alarms and other safety devices.”

Charlie ended by making this plea: “One of the best things you can do this Christmas, is give someone the gift of safety whether it’s to protect your loved ones from a fire or the potential damage caused by flood water. Get in touch today – you could actually be saving a life.”

To see if you’re eligible for a home safety visit, please call us on 0800 923 7000 (it’s free from landlines) or email

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Crews carrying out flood awareness to homes in Littlebourne
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