Community Flood Action groups are a group of volunteers from the local area who provide the eyes and ears on the ground for the Environment Agency and other connected organisations such as Calderdale Council and Calder Valley Search and Rescue. There are currently eight groups dotted along the Calder Valley, eight recognised areas where regular flooding occurs.
A Flood Group can have any number of wardens but each have a couple that are classed as EA flood wardens, they are no different to the other wardens, it is purely so that the Environment Agency have key people they contact with updates on storms and severe weather which in turn could cause flooding. The EA wardens then relay the information out to their fellow wardens. The EA wardens can contact the Environment Agency if they notice any possible issues with their particular area. It is a two way conversation so that a full picture can be gained, situations change rapidly and these volunteers play a vital role in the community.
Flood action groups meet regularly, they have a comprehensive flood plan which is a reference tool for current and new wardens which is updated continually. No two flooding events are the same so a flood plan aims to provide information to assist the response to a flood incident.
You may have noticed a container or containers being placed strategically across the valley. These are flood stores managed by flood wardens, they contain a wide range of items to assist the wardens in protecting the community in the event of an impending flood. Watch the video below for an example of a store in Mytholmroyd.
Flood wardens are not only visible at times of possible flooding and flooding, you may get a knock on the door or see them passing by, the EA wardens have an identity badge. They may assist the local community in raising awareness and looking at how residents and businesses can prepare for a flood and minimise the damage when a flood occurs.
When a flood event occurs they are assisting with measures such as sandbagging and diverting water, advising people of action to take and checking on the most vulnerable in their community. They provide information to the community on flood warnings from the Environment Agency , Council and relevant agencies. Recently Calderdale Council and the Environment Agency have funded some new radios, which flood wardens will use to give and receive messages quickly and easily in the event of a flood.
At times wardens will have the opportunity to undergo training, most recently they attended a water safety training session with Calder Valley Search and Rescue to better understand the dangers of water and how keeping safe is of most importance.
Your local flood wardens are not an emergency or rescue service, they offer advice and guidance when safe to do, in an emergency you must always contact the emergency services on 999 or 112.
If you would like to volunteer to be a Flood Warden you can contact Jo Arnold from the Environment Agency Flood Resilience Team via email firstname.lastname@example.org