A FLOOD squad could be set up to help residents cope with the aftermath of extreme weather.

Calls are being made to set up a band of wardens on Canvey dedicated to helping the community in the event of a flooding crisis.

The Essex coast has been battered by severe weather in recent months, causing drains and ditches to overflow, leaving roads submerged and some families homeless.

Now councillors are trying to set up a group of volunteers who will help their neighbours on the island.

Nick Harvey, Canvey Independent councillor for north ward, said: “If we can get this set up, I think it will be really useful. When you look at what’s happened in the West Country the flood wardens have been getting on with it in their yellow jackets doing their bit. It shows you do need someone to co-ordinate.

“The weather has changed dramatically in the last year and I think it will be good for people to have someone they know they can turn to. It is always better to be safe than sorry.”

While Canvey’s flood defences have stood strong against the high tides in recent months, the island has still been hit by surface water flooding as a result of heavy rainfall.

Flood wardens are set up in conjunction with the Environment Agency and local councils and can play a vital role in preparing the community against flood risk Volunteers are specially trained and can be responsible for helping people register for flood alerts, spreading the word about flood risk, identifying areas at risk and helping the most vulnerable people stay safe by moving furniture and making sand bags.

Dave Blackwell, leader of the Canvey Independent Party, said: “We are hoping to have three people in each ward and other volunteers that can be called upon as well. These people will act like first responders if there is a flood from the sea or from heavy rainfall.

“You only have to look at what’s happened since August to see it is needed because so many people just didn’t know what to do. We are looking at Canvey in particular, but if anyone on the mainland affected by flooding wants to help, I am sure we can do it for the whole borough.”

A spokeswoman from the Environment Agency added: “Volunteer flood wardens provide a vital link between the Environment Agency, the public and local councils. They encourage people to make a call to register for flood warnings and make a plan, so they know what to do if flooding happens.

“By becoming a flood warden, people can help the most vulnerable members of their community stay safe.”

Anyone interested in becoming part of the project should contact Mr Blackwell on cllr.dblackwell@castlepoint.gov.

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