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Extra protection against flooding

PUBLISHED: 17:00 29 September 2001 | UPDATED: 10:36 03 March 2010

FAMILIES will be issued with sandbags this winter to keep the floodwaters out of their homes when emergency strikes.

With fears of stormy seas overtopping defences and rivers rising again in heavy rainfall, communities are preparing early for a repeat of last winter's nightmare.

FAMILIES will be issued with sandbags this winter to keep the floodwaters out of their homes when emergency strikes.

With fears of stormy seas overtopping defences and rivers rising again in heavy rainfall, communities are preparing early for a repeat of last winter's nightmare.

Residents of Felixstowe's West End, such as Manor Terrace, regularly have to put sandbags outside their homes to keep the sea out, but this winter people in country areas close to high rivers will be helped as well.

Although they have no legal responsibility to help, officers at Suffolk Coastal say the council is a caring authority and will provide sandbags and help families to prepare for the worst.

However, they are warning that sandbags will not prevent flooding – and householders may need to take other action, too.

"We will provide sandbags to communities likely to be at risk during an officially declared Flood Warning issued by the Environment Agency," said Mike Topliss, Suffolk Coastal's emergency planning officer.

"We know which areas have a history of being flooded and these are where we generally will focus our attentions."

Delivery of sandbags will be made to a central location so members of the community can then distribute them to homes that need them.

"In special cases, we will also deliver sandbags direct to people whose homes are in immediate danger of being flooded," said Mr Topliss.

"Sandbags are very effective in diverting shallow water that is flowing past your home, or deflecting waves caused by cars and other vehicles driving past in shallow water.

"Sadly, they won't keep out the water if the water level is higher than the doorstep, or any brick ventilators built into walls."

People could fit removable floodboards to doorways and low ventilator bricks and kits are available from DIY stores and builders' merchants. Filled sandbags can also be bought for those wanting to prepare in advance – or empty bags can be bought for 24p each from the council's Woodbridge offices or Felixstowe Leisure Centres, ready to be filled with sand or soil in an emergency.

The Environment Agency Floodline – 0845 988 1188 – service will give more advice and put properties on their warning service list for free and will then call you if there is danger.

WEBLINK: www.suffolkcoastal.gov.uk

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