PUBLISHED: 11:14 23 February 2006 | UPDATED: 09:40 06 May 2010
MANY homes in Herts and Beds are at risk from flooding - yet most people are not taking the necessary precautions. Although there has been a relatively dry winter, the Environment Agency is warning that just one large downpour could result in serious floo
MANY homes in Herts and Beds are at risk from flooding - yet most people are not taking the necessary precautions.
Although there has been a relatively dry winter, the Environment Agency is warning that just one large downpour could result in serious flooding.
In Stevenage, around 200 properties, mainly between Broadwater and the town centre, are classified at a "moderate" risk due to their proximity to Stevenage Brook.
This means, annually, there's up to a one in 75 chance properties will flood.
Other areas under a "moderate" threat include parts of Hitchin, Biggleswade, Potton, Langford, Henlow, Stotfold, Arlesey and Clifton.
Sandy and Shefford are considered even more vulnerable and have been classified as significantly at risk, which raises the chance of flooding to greater than one in 75 every year.
The Environment Agency, a public body responsible for protecting and improving the environment, is a key port of call for concerned residents in risky areas.
It has created a free 24-hour service called Floodline Warnings Direct which provides warnings to people in flood-risk areas.
Lee James, from the Environment Agency, is alarmed that many people still are not preparing for the damages that flooding can cause.
He said: "All too often, lack of preparation is the biggest factor in why a flood devastates a home, but it needn't be that way.
"Floodline Warnings Direct provides people with an early warning."
The Environment Agency has identified some simple precautions to consider when floods are imminent:
* Turn off gas, electricity and water supplies at the mains. Find out where these are well in advance of any flood
* Move sentimental items like photographs upstairs in case you forget or don't have time to move them during a flood
* Put plugs into sinks and weigh them down with something heavy
* Move as many possessions upstairs as you can
* Co-operate with emergency services and local authorities - you may be evacuated
For more information, the Floodline service number is 0845 988 1188 or visit www.environment-agency.gov.uk