We're ready for storm forecast - are you?
Emergency response partners on the Bedfordshire and Luton Local Resilience Forum met this afternoon to ensure they are ready to activate their plans ahead of anticipated severe weather on Sunday evening/Monday morning.
Currently the Met Office has an amber alert in place for the county predicting winds of 60-80mph, resulting in possible dangerous driving conditions, widespread tree and minor structural damage, risk of injury from flying debris and the potential for localised interruption to power supplies.
There is also a yellow flood warning in place advising that persistent heavy rain could cause surface water flooding.
Bedfordshire Police Chief Supt Mike Colbourne, Chair of BLLRF, said: "While there is no need for any undue alarm, the forecast is currently for winds of a strength that we have not seen in this part of the country for more than 20 years. With the trees still in leaf and the ground soft after recent rain, there is certainly the potential for some tree and structural damage, and disruption to travel particularly on Monday morning.
"There are number of straightforward steps that residents and businesses can take now to make sure they are as prepared as possible and I would urge them to do so.
"Partners will continue to monitor the latest forecasts over the weekend and, if the situation develops, can activate a multi-agency response including organisations such as the Environment Agency, Highways Agency and the utility companies.
Before a storm, secure loose objects such as ladders, garden furniture or anything else that could be blown into windows and other glazing and break them.
Close and securely fasten doors and windows, particularly those on the windward side of the house, and especially large doors such as those on garages.
Park vehicles in a garage, if available; otherwise keep them clear of buildings, trees, walls and fences.
Close and secure loft trapdoors with bolts, particularly if roof pitch is less than 30 degrees.
If chimney stacks are tall and in poor condition, move beds away from areas directly below them.
During a storm, stay indoors as much as possible. If you do go out, try not to walk or shelter close to buildings and trees.
Keep away from the sheltered side of boundary walls and fences — if these structures fail, they will collapse on this side. Do not go outside to repair damage while the storm is in progress.
If possible, enter and leave your house through doors in the sheltered side, closing them behind you. Open internal doors only as needed, and close them behind you.
Do not drive unless your journey is really necessary. Delay your journey or find alternative routes if possible.
If your journey is essential, take particular care when driving on exposed routes such as bridges or high open roads. Slow down and be aware of side winds, particular care should be taken if you are towing or are a high-sided vehicle.
After a storm, be careful not to touch any electrical/telephone cables that have been blown down or are still hanging, and do not walk too close to walls, buildings and trees as they could have been weakened.
Make sure that any vulnerable neighbours or relatives are safe and help them make arrangements for any repairs.
Further advice for strong gales, heavy rain and flooding plus useful links including how to prepare an emergency home kit are available via the resilience forum's website www.whatwouldyoudoif.co.uk.
The website also features advice for businesses on preparing a business continuity plan, including a ten-minute health check.
Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire
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