Vulnerable people and flooding
Vulnerable people can include those who may need community care services for reasons such as mental health issues, disability, age or illness, and those who may be vulnerable by having young children or being pregnant. These people may need extra assistance before, during and after a flood event to ensure that they are safe at all times.
Either yourself or your community as a whole can assist those who are vulnerable to flooding, this could be by:
- Helping them sign up the Environment Agency’s free flood alert and warning service.
- Make them aware of priority services registers and sign them up if eligible.
- Helping to move furniture when a flood warning is issued.
- Assisting with evacuation.
- Helping them put together a flood kit. Age UK have suggested the following items should be included in an emergency kit for older people:
- A stock of any medication they are on
- Contact lenses, hearing aid batteries etc.
- First aid kit.
- Blankets, hat and socks.
- A flask and soup packets.
- Batteries for a battery powered radio.
- A wind up torch and whistle.
- A camera to take pictures for insurance companies.
- A waterproof envelope to store any essential documents.
- Emergency contact numbers.
Priority Service registers are used by United Utilities and Electricity North West and have been set up to help those across the North West who may need extra support during a power cut or when there is a disruption to water supplies. The priority services could help somebody vulnerable you know benefit from extra support from the companies so they can respond to their particular needs. The service is free of charge for customers in the North West.
Find out more about priority services by visiting The Flood Hub here.
Electricity North West also have a Youtube video about the priority services which can be found here.
It is important that vulnerable people are accounted for and assisted during emergencies, and having a community resilience plan can be very helpful to ensure this. The plans can cover a range of different emergencies that an area could face and they allow for preparation before a flood event. Community resilience plans can highlight those in the community who may be vulnerable, by containing a list of names or addresses along with contact details. It can be passed on to the emergency services prior to or during an event to ensure that vulnerable residents are provided with help and support. The plan can also highlight members of the community who may have particular skills or equipment which could be useful during an emergency, such as first aid training or large vehicles more likely to withstand extreme weather.
The aftermath of a flood can be very difficult for some vulnerable people and sometimes overwhelming, especially if there has been significant damage caused by flood water. Support can be provided in a number of ways:
- Compile a list of useful phone numbers for them to use, such as the local council, insurance company, Environment Agency, United Utilities etc.
- Help with arranging alternative accommodation if necessary.
- Help with the clean up process.
- Take pictures of their property for them (if necessary) to send off to the insurance company.
- Contact local charities to ask for additional, specialist help if necessary.
- Check up on them regularly.
Flooding can be an extremely stressful and worrying time for everyone, especially for those who are vulnerable. Providing them with extra help and assistance helps them to feel safe and supported and eases the process of recovery in any emergency situation.
Sources: Mencap, AgeUK, United Utilities, Electricity North West