Warning as motorists stuck in flood waters

Joseph Bulmer

FIRE crews from Holsworthy and Torrington were called to the aid of a man stuck in a van in deep flood water at Sutcombe yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon.

Four fire crew members wore dry suits to investigate further and discovered that the van was carrying pesticides. The van and its driver were taken to dry ground and it was confirmed that no pesticides had leaked into the water.

Devon County Highways closed the section of roadway affected by the flood water.

This was just one of six separate incidents in which Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service crews were called to rescue motorists when their vehicles became stuck in flood water as heavy downpours swept the region.

The fire and rescue service warned people to be aware of possible flooding and not to risk their lives by attempting to drive through any flood water.

It issued the following advice to motorists and the public in potential flooding situations:

• 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

• 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.