Skip to content

Could you be a flood friend?

Lorraine Andrews' neighbours are fortunate to have Lorraine living close by. Not just because she's a lovely lady, full of warmth and good humour. Lorraine is the Fenside flood warden.

So her neighbours in Langrick Road will be first to know if a flood warning is given out for that area by the Environment Agency, because Lorraine will be the first to get it. She will pass the message on by visiting her neighbours to urge them to be prepared.

Lorraine is a volunteer. She doesn't get paid. So why is she a flood warden?

"Initially for self preservation. But I also want to be a good neighbour," explained the grandmother to ten.

Before coming to live in a flood risk area in Boston in 2000 Lorraine lived a five-minute walk from the sea in Eastbourne in East Sussex. She had witnessed firsthand the catastrophic effects of flooding. Although her own home had escaped flooding she had seen the flood plain breached, flooding the cellars of properties in her road.

She became an Environment Agency flood warden for her area in Eastbourne because if it happened again she wanted to be trained and prepared and among the first to be informed so she could be ready.

She had no idea, when she moved to Boston, that similar flood risks would apply. Now, with the North Forty Foot drain yards away from her front door, and the River Witham not far from her back door she has maintained her flood warden status.

Lorraine keeps an emergency bag packed for her own family's use should they need to leave their home because of flood and keeps her flood warden high-visibility vest close by should the need to raise the alarm come.

First on her list will be the vulnerable and elderly who will get a friendly knock at the door or, if they are not at home, a warning card through the letterbox.

She said: "We need more flood wardens in an area like this. It's not a huge responsibility. You are expected to put you and yours first and then help others where you can. But I'm not expected to carry them on my shoulders through chest-high flood water, or anything like that.

"You just need a little bit of time and a willingness to want to help others. Full training is given, but it doesn't take tons of your time."

She said that, because many people with a landline phone got a call on the occasion of the flood in December, 2013, they were incorrectly assuming they were signed up for flood warnings.

"That's not the case. The Environment Agency, through an arrangement with phone providers, was able, on that occasion to call people with a flood warning. But that's not the same as being signed up for all flood warnings. You have to do that and make sure you receive flood warning messages by landline, email and mobile. That way you can be sure of getting the warning wherever you are - at home, at work or out doing the shopping or even away from home on holiday."

She urged all to sign up for the EA service saying: "Even though we had that big flood there are still people who don't believe it can really happen. It can. It did. It may happen again. Flooding causes such distress when homes and business are flooded. I cannot advise strongly enough, please register with flood line; even better be a flood warden and be the first to hear and not the last to be flooded."

Lorraine is happy to speak to groups, clubs, organisations about being a flood warden and about being prepared for flooding. Contact her on 01205 363420.

Contact Rachael McMahon, the Environment Agency's Flood Resilience Advisor for Lincolnshire if you want to learn more about being a flood warden or need any other flooding information. Call Rachael on 01522 785904, mobile 07810 527156 or email her at

rachael.mcmahon@environment-agency.gov.uk

The aim is to get at least one flood warden for each ward in the area, preferably two to work in pairs. Wyberton currently leads the way with at least 12 new flood wardens in the pipeline.

To find out more about becoming a flood warden go to http://ow.ly/IxTdZ

To sign up for flood warnings go to

www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/lrfor phone the Floodline on 0345 988 1188/

0845 988 1188.