Video and photo gallery: The night when planning and preparation helped cope with the worse tidal surge for decades

Flood warnings. NNDC volunteer flood wardens, Pat and Mike Harcup go door-to-door warning residents about the possible evacuation. 
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY Flood warnings. NNDC volunteer flood wardens, Pat and Mike Harcup go door-to-door warning residents about the possible evacuation. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Friday, December 6, 2013
2:23 PM

It was the night when years of planning and preparations paid off.

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The emergency services and public authorities yesterday put into place long-rehearsed procedures as they sought to cope with tidal surges which were, in places, higher than the devastating 1953 floods.

Norfolk’s Fire and Rescue Service responded to 116 incidents, including nine flood rescues.

More than 600 people used various rest centre across the county, and residents in 10,000 properties were visited and advised to evacuate.

The highways team helped remove 21 fallen trees, and supported 11 road closures and completed a full gritting run.

The council’s transport teams helped in the evacuation of properties by providing buses to rest centres, and the county council used more than 100 vehicles, using school and college buses, private operators and taxis to move vulnerable people and those without transport. Volunteers also helped with transport.

Trading standards officers were also involved ahead of the flooding, supporting the farming community by providing advice about moving livestock.

Adult social care teams also contacted all older and vulnerable people they support in the flood areas so they knew what to do and to assist with the evacuation effort.

Deputy chief constable Charlie Hall, who is leading the multi-agency response said: “This has been a serious incident which could have been far worse had it not been for the support and cooperation of the public and all the agencies working to keep people safe.

“In places, water levels were higher than those experienced in the flooding of 1953, when many people lost their lives. Thankfully that has not been the case on this occasion, a combination of improved defences in place and the concerted efforts of the community, the emergency services and the agencies that have worked to support the evacuation and keep people informed.

“The widespread evacuation was based on the high risk of severe flooding and was essential in ensuring the public’s safety. A night time rescue operation would have placed both the public and emergency services at far greater risk.”

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