RESIDENTS who live in flood risk areas in Lyme Regis and Uplyme have been urged to take measures to protect themselves.
The Environment Agency has encouraged the 100 or so properties in the at risk zones to sign up to a new flood warning service and invest in simple flood defences.
The organisation held two open events in both communities on Wednesday when residents could find out more about what to do in the event of an emergency.
Environment Agency Wessex has taken over responsibility for the whole of the River Lym in order to co-ordinate a flood plan for both Lyme Regis and Uplyme.
Community awareness officer Nick Reed said: “We have created flood warning areas and have written to people in these areas to let them know they can register to receive free flood warnings from us.
“We have split Lyme Regis and Uplyme into two flood warning areas – a high risk and low risk.
“There are 100 properties in the flood risk areas, which tend to be close to the river.”
The flood warning service uses the latest technology to monitor rainfall, river levels and sea conditions 24 hours a day and uses the information to forecast the possibility of flooding.
There are three types of warnings – flood alert, flood warning, and severe flood warning.
Residents in flood risk areas who are registered will receive direct warnings by phone, text, email or fax.
Mr Reed said: “We have got automatic gauges on the rivers and when the water reaches a certain level it will trigger an alert and everyone registered with the service would get an automatic telephone call.
“People can then take simple precautions like getting sandbags or flood protection products, making sure valuables downstairs are moved to higher ground, and moving your car up the road.”
Mr Reed said properties entitled to receive warnings should have received a letter, but if residents think they are at risk but have not been notified, they can contact the Wessex flood resilience team on 01258 483326 or firstname.lastname@example.org
He said there may also be special circumstances where people outside the flood risk area can receive warnings, for example if they have a vulnerable relative, second home, or business in the area.
The warnings will also go out on the Environment Agency website, through the media, via local flood wardens, or by calling Floodline on 0845 988 1188.
Mr Reed said recent flooding in Lyme Regis and Uplyme has made the service even more vital.
“In the summer we realised there is a big flood risk but the setting up of the service was something that was in progress prior to the flooding,” he said.
“This summer we had really intense downpours on really wet ground.
“Over that month in July we had over six inches of rain in this area. Since then we have had more and more so the ground has been sodden.”
Residents can check if their property is in a flood risk area at environment-agency.gov.uk/flood
Steps to prepare for flooding
• Prepare a kit of essential items
• Check insurance cover for flood
• Make a list of important contact numbers
• Know how to turn off utility supplies
• Move important items to safety
• Think about what else to move to safety, eg pets, furniture