The UK’s leading drowning prevention charity is urging people to stay safe as fears rise of severe coastal flooding parts of the east of England.
The number of severe flood alerts increased to 28 and flood warnings to 160 this afternoon (Thursday) as severe storms continue to hit - and the most serious coastal tidal surge for decades looms.
The Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS UK) has issued safety advice following Environment Agency warnings across the whole of the UK – the south west being the only area to only have an alert rather than warnings.
And with severe weather set to continue over the next few days and more serious flood warnings expected, safety around floodwater could mean the difference between life and death.
Chief Executive of RLSS UK, Di Standley, said: “Whether it is coastal flooding, swollen rivers or general floodwater on roads and pathways, it is vital people follow simple, common sense, steps during periods of flooding to help ensure they, and their families, stay safe.
“Apart from trying to go about their daily business during floods, people are often curious to see flooded areas but this can be dangerous, and drivers may take risks driving through floodwater, unaware of levels of depth.
“It is vital not to underestimate the power of floodwater.
“The RLSS UK calling on everyone to be proactive and to learn about water safety to protect themselves and their loved-ones.”
Every year around 400 people lose their lives through accidental drowning – inland water accounting for 63 per cent of these deaths – but by remembering and following some quick and easy advice, people can help prevent themselves becoming one of the statistics.
RLSS UK urges people never try to walk or drive through floodwater – six inches of fast flowing water can knock an adult over and two feet of water will float a car.
They also advise never trying to swim through fast flowing water or flood water as you may get swept away or be struck or caught up in an object in the water
Other advice includes never allowing children or pets to go near or play in flood water. It is hazardous and may be contaminated with chemicals.
You should also keep an eye on weather reports for flooding in your area.
Prepare a flood kit in case your home floods or you are trapped in a vehicle for any period – this can contain a change of clothing, wellies, waterproofs and blankets as well as a torch, charged mobile, radio, medication and a first aid kit and a list of useful numbers, including flood alert lines
You can also download the charity’s flood warning leaflet at www.rlss.org.uk/floods.