A Garforth community group set up to plan and prepare for flooding will be testing its flood plan next week, five years on from the 2007 floods.
Garforth Flood Support Group is planning its second practice of its community flood plan on Monday 25 June, where it will use a flood scenario to alert residents and businesses, set up flood protection products like door barriers, and make sure vulnerable people have assistance.
Last year, Garforth’s first trial took place as part of Exercise Watermark, a large-scale emergency flood exercise across England and Wales.
History of flooding
Garforth has a long history of flooding problems, with local drainage systems unable to cope with large storms. After the severe flooding in June 2007, residents decided it was time to put together their own plan of how they could work together during a flood.
The plan is divided up into eight different areas of Garforth that are known to be vulnerable to flooding.
The group’s founder and treasurer, Jacky Simpson, said: “With support from Leeds City Council and the Environment Agency, we have worked hard to develop and maintain our flood plan. My role, along with two flood wardens, is to liaise with these authorities and pass on information about potential flooding problems to a sub-warden in each of the eight areas. They then pass the message to properties at risk.
“Even if we don’t need to put the plan into action for several years, we need to keep testing it so that in a genuine emergency, everyone understands what to do.”
Graham Lindsey, the Environment Agency’s community officer said: “Only very recently Garforth experienced some localised flooding, which can be very distressing for the local community. So we’re really pleased that the Garforth group is keeping up with testing its flood plan. This type of exercise is a chance for individuals, community groups, schools and businesses to think about how they would respond.
“In a major flood, the emergency service responders may not be able to help everyone affected, and any assistance may take a while to arrive. Therefore it is essential that people know whether they could be affected by flooding, know how to stay safe and have a plan in place.”
This year, the trial will test procedures for cascading information through the community. Members of the group alert and find assistance for vulnerable residents and inform residents to set up flood protection products which have been provided to some previously flooded properties through a government grant scheme.
To find out if you are at risk of flooding, and for advice on how to create your own flood plan visit the Environment Agency’s website or call Floodline 0845 988 1188.