Derbyshire Fire Service urges people to heed flood warnings and stay safe

With heavy rain affecting many part of the county this week, Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service (DFRS) is reissuing advice to motorists and people across Derbyshire to take extra care – respecting ‘road closed’ signs and keeping away from fast flowing rivers and flood water.

Wednesday, 20th January 2021, 11:03 am

Between 2018 and 2020, firefighters responded to 36 incidents to rescue people who had become stranded in their vehicles in flood water.

Many incidents can be avoided if motorists adhere to ‘road closed’ signs and take the sensible decision not to drive through flood water.

Wayne Brooks, DFRS group manager, said: “Road closed signs are put in place to advise motorists that a road is considered too dangerous for a vehicle to pass safely.

The fire service has called on motorists not to ignore road closed signs during flooding

"Sadly we continue to attend incidents when drivers have ignored these signs.

“When you consider as little as 60 centimetres of standing water can float a car, just 30 centimetres of flowing water could be enough to move a vehicle, it’s easy to understand the danger and how easy it is to get stuck.

"For every incident we attend to rescue a stranded motorist firefighters are prevented and delayed from responding to other potentially life-threatening emergency incidents.

"So please, if there is a road closed sign do not ignore it, and if you do come across a flooded road, find a safe alternative route.”

The fire service also advises motorists to keep away from fast flowing rivers and flood water.

Between 2018 and 2020, firefighters responded to a further 12 incidents where people needed rescuing from water.

Mr Brooks continued: “With increased rainfall comes fast flowing rivers and floodwater – both increasing the risk of accidental drownings.

“We need people to understand just how dangerous water can be and how quickly someone can get into difficulty.

"When the water is high, it’s quite easy to slip on water logged and unstable ground and when you are too close to the water’s edge this can quickly become an emergency.

“We know people are limited to daily exercise at the moment and want to get out whatever the weather, but we really need people to take extra care, especially over the coming days when river levels are expected to peak.

"When out walking, or running close to water, keep away from the water’s edge, especially after rain when the ground may be slippery or unstable.

"Never enter the water to try and help a person or animal – always call 999 and use any water rescue equipment if it is available.

"Keep dogs on a lead when close to water and if you happen to fall in water don’t panic, float on your back and then either call for help, or swim to safety.

"If you’ve had alcohol don’t enter the water and avoid walking routes near water and keep children fully supervised when walking close to water.

DFRS are also asking people to consider their call when thinking about whether to call the fire service.

During the last significant extreme weather-related event in June 2020, more than 150 calls per hour were being handled by control operators, often for incidents that the fire service was unable to help with.

For more advice on flooding and protecting your home, click here.

You can access the latest river and flood warnings here.