Flood warning sirens to be sounded on Friday

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Eight flood warning sirens will be sounded on Friday across the Upper Calder Valley as part of a live training exercise.

They will be put to the test in Walsden, Todmorden, Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd to help make sure communities are as prepared as possible for any risk of flooding this winter.

The Environment Agency uses the sirens, which have an audibility level similar to that used by emergency vehicles, to warn people rivers are expected to flood. They will be tested together on Friday 20 October, at 10.45am, before the second major training exercise of its kind is held in the area to test the emergency response of the Council, emergency services and partner organisations to a major flooding incident, including a live search and rescue operation.

Each siren test will last for two minutes. Residents and businesses in the towns do not need to take any action when hearing the sirens at these times. Loud hailer vehicles will be used to alert people to the tests, ahead of the sirens being sounded.

There are four sirens in Todmorden which are sited at the fire station, the high school, Morrisons and Warmans. There is also one at Walsden, two in Hebden Bridge, one in Mytholmroyd and a community siren in Sowerby Bridge.

Jon Follows, Environment Agency flood resilience officer for Calderdale, said: “It is important that we test the sirens to check that they are working properly and can be triggered remotely from our incident room in Leeds.

“Although no action needs to be taken during the test, people need to be aware that if they hear the sirens at any other time, then this means that flooding is expected.

“Flood water is dangerous, particularly in these areas where water cascading down from the steep surrounding hills means flooding can happen very quickly and with little warning.

“We would ask people not to put themselves at danger by driving or walking through fast moving flood water.

“The flood sirens are secondary methods of residents across the Calder Valley that a flood is expected, so it is really important that all residents and businesses are signed up to the Environment Agency flood warning service which gives advanced notification of flooding via phone, text and email.

”We are also encouraging local residents and businesses to put together a flood plan to keep themselves and their families safe and check the latest weather forecast and flood warning information on our website.”