During a storm or period of very heavy rainfall the emergency services are very busy. So it’s important that people only call 999 for immediate assistance if there is a risk to life or serious property or environmental damage.
Some areas of Kent have experienced severe weather conditions today (29 May) and at 3.15pm we had received around 280 calls from members of the public since 7am, reporting flooding or weather related incidents such as fires caused by lightning. A large number of calls received came from areas in Medway and Swale.
Emergency situations are of course a priority, and therefore firefighters aren’t sent to every call we receive. An officer will assess the situation and if they feel the fire and rescue service can assist, they will ask for the right resources to be sent.
Incidents attended today include:
• Several people stranded inside broken down vehicles in Pett Road, Stockbury Valley, Sittingbourne. The road was closed at the junction with the A24
• Man rescued after being trapped in car in flood water in Lower Road, Teynham, Sittingbourne
• Several elderly people rescued from flooded properties in roads off of Luton Road, Chatham
• Lightning set fire to a tree and shed in the back garden of a property in Grafton Avenue, Rochester.
To keep up to date with the weather forecast head to the Met Office website.
Safety advice during flooding:
•Motorists should not attempt to drive through flooded roads or fords. The water is often deeper than it looks and may be moving quite fast. Your vehicle may be swept away or become stranded. There may also be hazards under the water you can’t see. If you see a sign to say that the road is closed due to flooding, remember the sign is there for a reason.
•When driving, if heavy rain is making visibility difficult, pull over if possible. Remember that roads will be slippery during wet conditions.
•Do not attempt to walk through flooded areas. Even shallow water moving fast can sweep you off your feet and there may be hidden dangers such as open drains or damaged road surfaces, which can cause serious injuries or even death.
•If your home does start to flood, turn off your electricity supply.
•Keep an eye on weather reports on local television or radio news channels, and phone Floodline 0345 988 1188 for more information.
•Do not travel in heavy rain storms unless absolutely necessary.
•Look after neighbours. People have been known to suffer from hypothermia after their homes have become flooded with cold rainwater - even in the summer.
•If you have an elderly or vulnerable family member or neighbour who is at risk of flooding, contact them to ensure they are prepared and know what to do should their home flood.
•For sewage leaks contact your water company.
Advice for dealing with the aftermath of flooding in your property:
•Contact your insurance company as soon as possible and follow their advice.
•If you can get in to your property, take photographs for evidence.
•Protect yourself against contamination, always wear waterproof outerwear, wellingtons and gloves.
•Make sure all electrical circuits are fully dried out and checked by an certified electrical engineer before switching back on.
•Have your gas or oil central heating checked by a certified/qualifies engineer.
•Your local council may provide help for clearing flood damaged house hold items and protecting against further flooding (i.e. sandbags).