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Control measure

Evacuation: Flooding

Control measure knowledge

Flood evacuation may occur several days prior to impact when levels of certainty in forecasting warrant pre-emptive action. This may include a requirement to establish reception centres and other care facilities and should be carried out in conjunction with local and national responses.

In some circumstances vertical evacuation (the movement of people to a higher floor in their own property) may be considered. This strategy is unsuitable for certain property types and vulnerable groups and its effectiveness is limited for longer term flooding as the effect on utilities, the availability of clean drinking water and the health risk associated with flooding may force longer term full evacuation. Properties affected by flooding may no longer be habitable and the relevant agencies should consider the need for long-term rehousing following evacuation.

Transient populations may be living in areas that are not registered and may need to be identified using other means such as aerial assessment or thermal imaging. During evacuation, services should consider the need to evacuate and accommodate communities in vulnerable properties such as holiday homes and caravan parks.

Some communities may not respond to traditional methods of communication such as megaphones, flood alerts, TV or radio. This may be because the community does not have access to the required technology or does not understand the language that is being used. Where necessary, alternative means of communication such as pictorial warning systems, translation sheets or community champions may assist in providing flood warnings.

Large-scale evacuations rely on effective management. Failure to manage evacuations can result in members of public taking actions that are not compatible with the overall evacuation strategy and may affect the success of future evacuations. Messages should be clear and reception centres should be established and ready to accept people prior to the need to evacuate.

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Establish appropriate evacuation plans for foreseeable floods, working with partner agencies and lead local authorities to develop emergency plans

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Implement evacuation arrangements for people at risk from the effects of flooding and rising flood waters