In a project led by the British Red Cross on behalf of the Regional Community Resilience Group, local residents have been busy working with Council officers, Elected Members, Rivers Agency, Transport NI, NI Water, PSNI, NI Fire and Rescue Service and the Met Office, to produce a local Community Flood Plan, unique to their area.
The plan identifies how local residents can work alongside responding agencies during a flood in a co-ordinated way, to complement each other and try to minimise the devastating effects that flooding can bring. Moreover, all those involved have developed strong working relationships based on trust, respect and mutual understanding to enable them to pull together in times of distress.
Chief Executive Anne Donaghy, said: “This initiative is an excellent model for how local communities, voluntary agencies and public services can pull together. I applaud the energy and determination of all involved to solve difficult problems by coming up with local solutions. It is clear these projects really make a difference and we can learn a lot from their success.”
During a series of workshops held at the Harryville Partnership offices, community members had the opportunity to discuss their flood concerns with the various agencies and devise local solutions.
Residents were offered advice about how they could protect themselves and their homes during a flood, and training in how to cope with the distress flooding can create.
Additionally the Community members and Agency representatives worked hard to create an agreed and effective Community Flood Plan to suit local needs. The plan enables residents to have a clearer understanding on what to do, who to call and where to go for help in the event of a flood.
Practical outcomes include a direct weather and flood warning alert system for residents, agreed sandbag store locations, and sharing of key contact details.