Portland flood sirens will be tested by the Environment Agency on Thursday 29 November 2018, to prepare for any floods this winter.
Four sirens, located roughly 250 metres apart in Chiswell, will be activated simultaneously at 10:30am, 3pm and 4:30pm. Residents are being informed by visits and leaflets.
The testing will be dependent on weather conditions and won’t go ahead if conditions are too similar to that of a real event.
Rachel Burden, Wessex Flood and Coast Risk Manager at the Environment Agency, said:
“Regular siren testing is an essential part of our forward planning, not only to ensure we are incident ready, but also to make sure our community flood warning and informing measures are effective.
If severe storms hit Portland, the sirens will play a crucial part in alerting local residents to imminent danger and potential evacuation. Ultimately, these sirens could help save lives”.
Chiswell was badly affected by the floods in 2013/14. It is a vulnerable area and can take a heavy pounding from the sea when the south westerly wind picks up. Although good flood protection measures are in place, we can never fully defend against the worst that nature can throw at us.
In Dorset, the Chiswell area of Portland is a high-risk flood area because of strong south-westerly winds, high tides in Lyme Bay and how close properties are to the sea.
The sirens, tested twice a year, are extremely loud so they can be heard above the noise of crashing waves during a storm. Modern sirens were installed in 2010 and replaced older Second World War equipment. An additional siren was installed in 2015 to fill a ‘quiet spot’ identified by residents during testing in 2014.
The day supports the annual Environment Agency Flood Action Campaign. This year it runs from 29th November and is aimed at 18 to 34 year-olds – the age group least aware of flood risks.