Heavy rain and floods warning

WITH the Met Office predicting periods of heavy rain today, the Devon and Somerset Fire & Rescue Service is urging people to be aware of possible flooding and reminding drivers not to risk their lives by driving through any flood water.

The fire and rescue service offers some useful advice which could help prevent accidents during heavy rainfall and flooding:

People should bear in mind the following safety tips:

* Do not attempt to drive through flooded roads or fords. The water is often deeper than it looks and may be moving quite fast. Your vehicle may be swept away or become stranded. Vehicles can float away in just two feet of water.

If your vehicle stalls, leave it immediately if safe to do so and seek higher ground.

* Do not travel in heavy rain storms unless absolutely necessary. Keep an eye on weather reports on local television or listen to local radio.

* Do not attempt to walk through flooded areas. Even shallow water moving fast can sweep you off your feet and there may be hidden dangers such as open drains, damaged road surfaces, submerged debris or deep channels; these can cause serious injuries or even death

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* Children should not be allowed to play in flood water, which can become contaminated with sewerage and chemicals

* Do not smoke, eat or drink whilst in contact with floodwater and always wash your hands afterwards

* Following a flood in your home, make sure all electrical circuits are fully dried out and checked by an electrical engineer before switching back on can cause serious injuries or even death.

The Environment Agency has flood warning updates on their web site every 15 minutes, please visit www.environment-agency.gov.uk/flood or ring their floodline 08459 881188 service.

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