Stay safe and vigilant, say Derbyshire firefighters as Storm Christoph makes its way

Firefighters have issued a fresh appeal to motorists and people across Derbyshire to avoid flood water as Storm Christoph is expected to barrel through the county in the next two days.

By Rahmah Ghazali
Tuesday, 19th January 2021, 2:26 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th January 2021, 2:28 pm

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service said people need to take extra care by respecting Road Closed signs and keeping away from fast flowing rivers and flood water.

They said many incidents in the past can be avoided if motorists adhere to Road Closed signs and take the sensible decision not to drive through flood water.

A swollen River Derwent floods a road in Darley Dale, Derbyshire. November 8, 2019. Picture: SWNS

Between 2018 and 2020, they added, firefighters responded to 36 incidents to rescue people who were stranded in their vehicles in flood water.

Group Manager Wayne Brooks said: “Road Closed signs are put in place to advise motorists that a road is considered too dangerous for a vehicle to pass safely.

"Sadly we continue to attend incidents when drivers have ignored these signs making a dangerous decision that they and their vehicle will be okay.

“There are other drivers who come across flooding where there isn’t a Road Closed sign, in both circumstances, we need to appeal to all road users to consider the impact of your actions not only on your own safety, but the impact on the emergency services called to assist should you get into difficulty.

Of the 26 incidents referred to in this data, sadly two resulted in two people tragically losing their lives.

During the same period, a further 12 incidents were reported where people needed rescuing from water.

Group Manager Brooks said increased rainfall means it comes with fast flowing rivers and floodwater that increase the risk of accidental drownings.

He said 263 people accidentally drowned across the country in 2019 and half of those people had no intention of entering the water.

“When the water is high, it’s quite easy to slip on water logged and unstable ground and when you are too close to the water’s edge this can quickly become an emergency.

“We know people are limited to daily exercise at the moment and want to get out whatever the weather, but we really need people to take extra care when they are out and about and close to water, especially over the coming days when river levels are expected to peak.”

This simple table shows when the fire and rescue service can help:

General flooding – Call Fire? No - Wait for water to subside

Flooding with life risk? – Call Fire and Rescue Service? Yes call 999 immediately

Flooding affecting electrics – What to do: Only if it safe to do so, isolate electrics – if in any doubt call the Fire and Rescue Service – call 999

If in doubt – call 999 immediately

You can access the latest river and flood warnings here https://flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk/warnings

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