Volunteer Community Flood Wardens for the Gillingham area.
Storm Angus visited us last week, depositing significant amounts of water across the area leading to river levels rising and flooding in parts of the town. This is the first of many winter storms this year that are large enough to be named.
During incidents such as this local volunteers play an important role. The Gillingham Community Flood Warden scheme has been in operation for the past sixteen years. Local volunteer Flood Wardens work in partnership with the Town Council and Environment Agency and provide vital local information during flooding. Mayor of Gillingham, Cllr Barry Von Clemens, said “We are very fortunate to have several dedicated volunteers but we need more local people in the local communities within our Town to come forward and volunteer to assist during times of need when these storms hit”.
Community Flood Wardens are appointed by Gillingham Town Council and act under the authority of the Council who will provide public liability insurance and training in the roles and responsibilities. The Environmental Agency acts as co-ordinators of the flood wardens, advising and supplying them with information, to assist them during times of flooding. Flood Wardens are the first point of contact for residents during a flood event and give advice and information during dry periods. They are also the local response co-ordinators during times of flooding and are a conduit for dispensing information from the Environment Agency and emergency services to local residents, and vice-versa. They compliment the emergency services, not replace them. The Flood Wardens can be seen as offering “flood first aid”, however, they must not put themselves or others in danger.
As the town has grown in size there is the need for additional volunteers to help. Gillingham Town Council is looking for volunteers to come forward who fit the following criteria:
- Reasonably fit and able to notify neighbours.
- At home during the day or working close to home.
- A good communicator – able to explain and pass on information.
- Interested in the local area and the river environment.
- Ideally not living in an area at high risk of flooding.
As well as flood wardens, volunteers are also needed to help in their local community during times of emergencies, including those willing to give short term shelter to those who have been affected during an event.