In recent months heavy rain, storms and severe gales have frequently battered the country – with strong winds and thunderstorms possibly continuing during the summer months.
Glen Ranger, Vice-Chairman of the Bedfordshire Local Resilience Forum, offered this advice: “Storm force winds and heavy downpours can damage buildings, cause flooding, interrupt power supplies and disrupt transport networks, as well as endanger lives by felling trees and collapsing boundary walls, for example.
“Regardless of the time of year when storm force winds are forecast, the Met Office will issue a Severe Weather Warning – and you can minimise the effects of severe weather by taking a few precautionary measures.”
If stormy weather is predicted, secure loose objects such as ladders, garden furniture, wheelie bins and trampolines, or anything else that could be blown into windows. Close and securely fasten all doors and windows. Park vehicles in a garage, if available, and keep vehicles away from buildings, trees, walls and fences.
Prepare for possible power cuts or flooding by putting together an emergency box that includes bottled water, a tin opener and tinned food, a wind-up radio and torch, a first aid kit, hand sanitisers, rubbish bags and plastic ties.
During a storm, stay indoors as much as possible - do not go outside to repair damage. If you must go out, do not walk or shelter close to buildings and trees, and keep away from the sheltered side of boundary walls and fences as they can collapse towards this side.
Do not drive unless your journey is essential, and only drive in daylight hours. Take extra care on bridges and high open roads and be prepared for gusts from side winds, particularly if you are towing or are driving a high-sided vehicle. Take extra care driving under trees and through woods.
After a storm, do not touch any electrical or telephone cables that have blown down or are hanging loose. Please check on any vulnerable neighbours or relatives to make sure they are safe and help them to make arrangements for repairs.
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