The Environment Agency is urging Devon communities to prepare for flooding.

Flood Action Week runs from 7 to 13 November 7 to 13 2022 and acts as a seasonal reminder for people who live in areas at risk of flooding to prepare now and take proper actions to protect their home, possessions and family.

Ben Johnstone of the Environment Agency said: “The dry weather has made 2022 a challenging year for the environment in Devon. But as we move towards winter this brings with it an increased chance of prolonged heavy rain and stormy seas - and with it the risk of flooding.

“Flood water can enter your home, threaten your family’s safety and destroy your possessions. It is within your power to reduce that risk simply by going online, signing up for flood warnings and learning what to do before, during and after a flood hits.”

The agency is expanding its flood warning service across Devon and Cornwall, with new flood warning areas going live, to warn more people when flooding is expected in their area. Throughout winter, the service will go-live in Buckfastleigh. Residents will automatically be signed up to receive a flood warning, however they can also receive a more bespoke service by registering for a full flood warning.

This Flood Action Week, the Environment Agency is urging people to take three simple steps: Check your flood risk online, sign up for flood warnings and know what to do if flooding hits.

Floods Minister Rebecca Pow said: “I know how devastating flooding can be - the loss of your home, the financial stress, and the destruction of irreplaceable, sentimental belongings all place unbelievable strain on those affected.

“Simple steps such as checking your flood risk online and signing up for flood warnings can make all the difference in terms of preparing yourself for what may come.

“We are committed to pressing ahead with our record £5.2 billion investment in flood and coastal defences between 2021 and 2027 to ensure more communities are even better prepared for future flooding events.”

At least one in six people in England are at risk from flooding from rivers and the sea, with many more at risk from surface water flooding.

However, nearly two in three households at risk of flooding do not believe it will happen to them, according to analysis produced by the Environment Agency earlier this year.

And despite the research showing that almost two thirds of people (60 per cent) have taken at least one action to prepare for flooding, as many as 1.5 million households, who are at risk, are yet to prepare.

Those at risk are encouraged to follow the advice to ‘Prepare. Act. Survive,’ specifically:

If there is an initial flood alert – prepare by packing medicines and insurance and other important documents and visit the flood warning information service.

If there is a subsequent confirmed flood warning – act by moving family, pets and belongings to safety. Turn off gas, water and electricity.

If there is a severe flood warning – survive immediate danger by following the advice of emergency services or calling 999 if needed.

With just 30cm of flowing water being enough to float a car, drivers are also being warned not to attempt to drive through flood water and take extra precautions in wet weather.