Flood sirens will sound next Thursday, and simulated flood tests will also be carried out

Valley flooding in 2013, following the floods which engulfed the Calder Valley in 2012
Valley flooding in 2013, following the floods which engulfed the Calder Valley in 2012

Flood warning sirens in Walsden, Todmorden, Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd will be sounded next week as part of the Environment Agency’s annual maintenance tests.

The test is planned ahead of the Agency’s Flood Action Campaign in November, and the flood groups in the Upper Valley are taking the opportunity to test their own plans and encourage others to get involved.

The Environment Agency uses the sirens to warn the Upper Calder Valley communities when rivers are expected to flood. There are eight sirens in the area with an audibility level similar to that used by emergency vehicles.

The sirens will be tested on Thursday, October 30, at:

10.30am – Todmorden and Walsden

12.00pm – Hebden Bridge

1pm – Mytholmroyd

Each 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.

Environment Agency Engagement Officer Graham Lindsey 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. We are also encouraging local residents and businesses to put together a flood plan to keep themselves and their families safe.”

Mr Lindsey added: “After checking audibility of the sirens, our officers will wait at each siren after it has sounded so that any interested residents can come and speak to us about how to stay safe in a flash flood and how to be as prepared as possible. Please also take the chance to speak to your local flood group, who will be out on the day, to speak to locals about the flood plans they have developed and encourage more people to get involved.”

Groups will be present at the following times:

Todmorden Market, 10am to 1pm

Hebden Bridge market place, 11.30am to 1pm

Mytholmroyd - various locations

Calderdale Council’s Leader, Coun Stephen Baines, said: “Since the unprecedented floods of 2012 we have been working hard with local communities to develop ways to be more ready for flooding in the future. The three flood groups have done a great job of putting plans together on how they can respond before, during and after a flood. They need more people involved in this, so please go and find out how you can help, and also what you can do yourself to have a flood plan for your home or business.

“During the afternoon of October 30, alongside the Environment Agency, we will be supporting the three groups to test their flood plans by running through a simulated flooding scenario. If you have a flood plan, it’s really important to regularly test it so you are confident that it will work in a real flood.”

The work of the flood groups is part of a Defra funded Pathfinder project, a two year wider package of works aiming to increase resilience to flooding in the Upper Calder Valley.

To find out more about the dangers of flood water, to find out if your property is at risk of flooding and how to put together a flood plan for your home or business, call Floodline on 0845 988 1188 or 0345 988 1188 or visit the website at www.gov.uk/flood