Ready for disaster - but are you? Emergency planners warn Norwich residents are shunning safety advice

Emergency services, water rescue teams and weather experts joined forces to provide fun and games al

Emergency services, water rescue teams and weather experts joined forces to provide fun and games alongside advice and demonstrations at a safety event at the Riverside Entertainment Centre in Norwich. Picture: Ally McGilvray - Credit: Archant

Fears have been voiced that lives could be lost unless city residents take action to prepare themselves for an emergency.

Emergency services, water rescue teams and weather experts joined forces to provide fun and games al

Emergency services, water rescue teams and weather experts joined forces to provide fun and games alongside advice and demonstrations at a safety event at the Riverside Entertainment Centre in Norwich. Picture: Ally McGilvray - Credit: Archant

Norfolk Resilience Forum warned of the dangers of flash flooding, house fires and severe weather at a safety showcase in Norwich which highlighted the local risks.

It provided information on the simple, practical steps everyone can take to help lessen the impact of an unexpected event, such as developing a household emergency plan and putting together an emergency kit should there be a need to evacuate our home.

The family fun day, which involved all the emergency services, comes as the city continues the clear-up operation following Storm Doris last month and the recent coastal flooding which resulted in the army being called in to Great Yarmouth.

However, it emerged that while rural communities were rallying round to prepare themselves for future emergencies, there was little action being taken among residents in Norwich.

Emergency services, water rescue teams and weather experts joined forces to provide fun and games al

Emergency services, water rescue teams and weather experts joined forces to provide fun and games alongside advice and demonstrations at a safety event at the Riverside Entertainment Centre in Norwich. Picture: Ally McGilvray - Credit: Archant

Gemma Bailey, Norfolk Resilience Forum business manager, said: 'When you think of being prepared for something it's not necessarily being cut off by snow and severe weather, it can be when your vulnerable neighbours have a power outage, if they haven't got power for so long what are they going to do? It's just getting together as a community to help each other.

'What's the worst that can happen? There is a possible loss of life if they are not prepared and medical services or people are busy and can't get to them.

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'In Norfolk, we promote community resilience down to a parish and town level but there aren't as many community groups as such, in terms of different villages and different parishes, in Norwich; so you get quite a good take up in the rural districts but not so much in the city.

'I would love for every single type of community to have a community emergency plan or at least know where to go to get the help.'

Emergency services, water rescue teams and weather experts joined forces to provide fun and games al

Emergency services, water rescue teams and weather experts joined forces to provide fun and games alongside advice and demonstrations at a safety event at the Riverside Entertainment Centre in Norwich. Picture: Ally McGilvray - Credit: Archant

Emergency services, water rescue teams and weather experts joined forces to provide fun and games alongside advice and demonstrations at the safety event at the Riverside Entertainment Centre in Norwich on Saturday.

Organised by Norwich City Council, Norwich Prepared included a water rescue demonstration on the river, together with first aid advice, a children's activity area with a miniature guided walk along the Broads and an opportunity to win prizes supplied from local businesses, including Norwich City Football Club, Hollywood Bowl, Las Iguanas and Queen of Iceni.

As if to highlight the dangers, the fire service arrived late after being diverted to a call about flooding inside a property on Rouen Road.

Councillor Paul Kendrick, Norwich City Council's cabinet member with responsibility for emergency planning, said: 'Most of us rarely have time to stop and think about what we would do in the event of an emergency such as flooding, and it's always better to be safe than sorry.

Emergency services, water rescue teams and weather experts joined forces to provide fun and games al

Emergency services, water rescue teams and weather experts joined forces to provide fun and games alongside advice and demonstrations at a safety event at the Riverside Entertainment Centre in Norwich. Picture: Ally McGilvray - Credit: Archant

'As we approach the warmer months, it is also important to refresh ourselves on safety around the number of rivers we have in the city, and of course when we visit the glorious Norfolk seaside.

'This is a brilliant way to get practical, useful advice about some basic but vital ways can do be better prepared and stay safe.'

Each of the agencies involved in Norwich Prepared are members of the Norfolk Resilience Forum, which was set up to work together to prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies.

Teresa Cannon, emergency planning manager at Norwich City Council, said: 'It is difficult to get the message out where people think it's never going to happen to them and quite often it's not until it has happened to them that they'll do something about it.' But she added: 'It can happen anywhere.'

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