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We cant prevent flooding, but we can prepare for it

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					Making Space for Water                                                                                        Multi-agency flood exercises




We can’t prevent flooding, but we can
prepare for it
Where and Who                                                                The lessons learned from multi-agency exercises help
                                                                             us identify improved working practices and update our
Region: South West                                                           Multi-Agency Flood Warning and Response Plan. An
Area: Cornwall                                                               example of improved working is the new Memorandum
                                                                             of Understanding (MoU) with Her Majesty’s (HM)
Team: Flood Incident Management (FIM) team
                                                                             Coastguard who will provide a loudhailer flood warning
                                                                             service at coastal locations.

What                                                                         In 06/07 we focussed on our joint response to fluvial
Successful flood incident management requires                                 flooding with ‘Exercise Treffry’, and in 07/08 we will
organisations to work together and the Cornwall                              focus on our response to tidal flooding through exercise
Flood Incident Management Team manages an                                    ‘Hager-Vor’ (Cornish for ‘Foul Sea’).
annual programme of multi-agency flood exercises
with our professional partners. These exercises
ensure we comply with our Category 1 responsibilities                        How
under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004.                                      With an exposed coastline and steep flashy rivers, flooding in
                                                                             Cornwall can entail a high risk to life. The advantages of using
                                                                             HM Coastguard to undertake loudhailer warnings include:

                                                                             • Local Coastguard Rescue Teams (CRTs) will deliver
                                                                               loudhailer warnings to pre-designated flood-risk
                                                                               communities. They are co-ordinated by the Maritime
                                                                               Rescue and Coastguard Centre (MRCC). The Environment
                                                                               Agency Flood Warning Duty Officer will communicate
                                                                               with MRCC who will manage delivery by CRTs.

                                                                             • CRTs have specialist vehicles with public address
                                                                               loudhailers.

                                                                             • CRT members form part of the community. Their
                                                                               extensive local knowledge will help prioritise warnings
                                                                               and adapt routes if necessary.

                                                                             • HM Coastguard staff are on site to support other
                                                                               emergency service response. HM Coastguard are the
                                                                               only emergency services who can communicate directly
Exercise Treffry (July 2006). Discussion of priority actions identified the     with rescue helicopters, often essential in preventing
value of using HM Coastguard to disseminate loud-hailer warnings.              loss of life.
• Control of health and safety risk associated with
  Environment Agency staff in normal road vehicles.       Partners
                                                          HM Coastguard.
• Retains our resources for other incident
  management work.

The results were more efficient and effective working
                                                          Cost
practices as well as close co-operation with our
                                                          No external funding was required.
professional partner organisations to identify and
implement improved ways of working.


                                                          Timing and Status
Cost                                                      The status is current in Cornwall, with the opportunity
Time of Environment Agency FIM Team Members.              for a pilot elsewhere.

Approximately 1 FTE for 1 month included: workshops       2006
and exercises; meetings to develop MoU; development       • Opportunity of coastguard support for loud hailer
of information packs for each HM Coastguard Sector          warnings identified.
(includes procedures and maps for each flood risk          • Requirement to plan HM Coastguard support to
community); training; and testing results. No external      issue loud-hailer warnings identified during
funding was required. MoU states ‘operational costs         ‘Exercise Treffry’.
will be met by the respective organisations’.
                                                          • Maps of ‘Area at Flood Risk’ at each community to
                                                            identify suggested loud-hailer routes completed,
                                                            including ground truth surveys.
Challenges
                                                          Spring 2007
None. Regular communication with our professional
                                                          • Final documentation completed and presented
partners through exercises identified this opportunity
                                                            to all HM Coastguard CRTs.
for improved working practice.
                                                          • Procedures operational – training of Environment
                                                            Agency Cornwall Flood Warning Staff.

Aspects of Making Space                                   • Confirmation that Maritime and Coastguard
                                                            Agency (MCA) are happy to adopt MoU nationally.
for Water                                                   Other Environment Agency FIM Teams could
Better emergency planning using capabilities of other       approach local HM Coastguard Managers and
                                                            agree service locations.
partners. Also better engagement and risk communication
with a wider range of stakeholders and partners.          Summer 2007
                                                          • Procedures tested at Exercise ‘Hager-Vor’ in
                                                            July 2007.




For further information contact:
Steve Marks, Duncan Struggles

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Description: We cant prevent flooding, but we can prepare for it