FLOOD RELATED INCIDENTS – APPEAL TO THE PUBLIC

West Midlands Ambulance Service is making an urgent plea for people to stop putting their lives, and those of the emergency services, at risk during the current flooding. It follows a busy weekend for the ambulance service which has had to deal with a number of flood related incidents overnight. In particular, the Service is concerned by the number of people who have failed to take suitable precautions when they have come across flood hit roads.

WMAS General Manager, Nathan Hudson said: "No-one can have missed the heavy rain and strong winds that battered the region overnight. However, despite this, we were called out to several incidents where cars have tried to pass through flooded roads, fords, and small rivers and got stuck. 

The net effect is that the occupants have become trapped in their vehicles and the emergency services have had to risk difficult and often dangerous conditions in the middle of the night to come and rescue them.

It is quite simple; driving through flood water is inherently dangerous. When you start off you simply have no idea how deep it will be, whether there will be hidden obstacles such as raised man hole covers that could damage your car.  Flood water can also be very fast moving and we have seen incidences where the levels of water rise very quickly, which can catch out even the most experienced drivers.  

People who attempt to pass through flooded roads are not only putting their own lives at risk, but also the lives of the emergency services staff who have to rescue them. A little bit of common sense from the public will ensure that no one’s life is put in any unnecessary danger.

Perhaps surprisingly, we have had to deal with a remarkable number of stuck 4x4s.  Just because your vehicle has four wheel drive, does not make it amphibious. They too can become stuck in deep flood water.

We would urge people to not try and get across flood water and instead take a short detour, rather than become trapped in their cars and have to be rescued."

As well as stuck cars, the ambulance service has also been called overnight to cases of concern for peoples’ welfare due to houses and caravan parks flooding.

  • In Kempsey, Worcestershire, around 40 houses and a caravan park containing 60 caravans were flooded. Welfare checks were carried out by paramedics with the assistance of the fire service and SARA (Severn Area Rescue Association) who used specialist boats and equipment to make their way around flooded properties.
  • Around 30 members of the local community were evacuated to a nearby community centre where hot drinks and shelter were available.

As with all of the incidents overnight, the Trust had the resources to deal with them, however, we would encourage people to be sensible today and until the waters recede. Ambulance staff are primarily here to deal with life threatening emergencies.

Finally, we would like to thank all our staff and volunteers who have worked throughout the night in horrendous weather conditions, ensuring that members of the public were safe and received the help they needed around the region."

OPERATIONS STATISTICS:
Missions completed since 1991: 49,869 | On average we airlift a child every four days | Road traffic collisions make up around 35% of the incidents we attend | The service airlifts up to three horse riders each week.