Flood warnings to be given by text message, computer or phone

HOPES of saving traditional flood warning sirens in Castle Point have been dashed after Essex County Council announced it would not put them back into use.

Nine flood sirens in Canvey and one in Benfleet have been thrown on the scrapheap in favour of a new digital service to warn people of any flood risks.

Residents across the borough will be sent alerts by text, e-mail and by phone in the event of any potential danger.

Campaigners have been battling to try and save the sirens over fears the new system, operated by the Environment Agency, could put countless people at risk who do not use a computer or have a mobile phone.

Arrangements were already in place for energy companies Calor Gas and Oikos, who have fuel terminals on Canvey, to foot the bill for the running costs.

However, the council has said categorically they will never be reinstalled because they are too outdated.

County councillor Ray Howard, who spearheaded a campaign, said: “I am bitterly disappointed about the news, especially after we had all worked so hard to try and keep the sirens running with the help of Calor Gas and Oikos.”

Mr Howard took a special interest in flood protection after his family home, in North Avenue, Canvey, was flooded during the 1953 North Sea flood disaster, which killed 59 people on the island.

Preparations had also been made to try and get the sirens to be run locally in Canvey fire station, rather than in Chelmsford.

The new Floodline Warning Direct Service will save the Essex County Council £36,000 a year, but council officers deny the move is being driven by efforts to cut costs.

Tracey Chapman, councillor responsible for for highways and transportation, said: “The safety of Essex residents is paramount, and we want to provide the best possible flood warning system available.

“Essex County Council reviewed the usage of the sirens in 2010 as they were coming to the end of their natural life.

“The decision to decommission the sirens was not taken in order to save money, but because of the age and effectiveness of the equipment.”

Comments (21)

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1:10pm Mon 30 Apr 12

keithrg says...

I think its a grave shame. They are part of canvey History I used to love it when they tested them. I think that they think it will never flood again. There used to be signs Guiding people to emergancy temp occomdation like Bastable School I cant recall seeing these signs for a long time. I know theres now two routes of canvey but I wouldnt mind betting theres at least 4 times the amount of People now.
I think its a grave shame. They are part of canvey History I used to love it when they tested them. I think that they think it will never flood again. There used to be signs Guiding people to emergancy temp occomdation like Bastable School I cant recall seeing these signs for a long time. I know theres now two routes of canvey but I wouldnt mind betting theres at least 4 times the amount of People now. keithrg
  • Score: 0

3:53pm Mon 30 Apr 12

My Dog is called alfie says...

why not just use both make it extra safe.
why not just use both make it extra safe. My Dog is called alfie
  • Score: 0

4:00pm Mon 30 Apr 12

Brunning999 says...

Nothing is safe with all the cuts, in reality this means if you are not familiar with modern technology 'you die'
Nothing is safe with all the cuts, in reality this means if you are not familiar with modern technology 'you die' Brunning999
  • Score: 0

4:20pm Mon 30 Apr 12

John T Pharro says...

keithrg wrote:
I think its a grave shame. They are part of canvey History I used to love it when they tested them. I think that they think it will never flood again. There used to be signs Guiding people to emergancy temp occomdation like Bastable School I cant recall seeing these signs for a long time. I know theres now two routes of canvey but I wouldnt mind betting theres at least 4 times the amount of People now.
There was also a system where people who lived in bungalows had a two storey house to go to when an alert was sounded. I know because we were registered for a neighbour to come to us.
Probably another thing that went when Canvey and Benfleet Councils were merged.
[quote][p][bold]keithrg[/bold] wrote: I think its a grave shame. They are part of canvey History I used to love it when they tested them. I think that they think it will never flood again. There used to be signs Guiding people to emergancy temp occomdation like Bastable School I cant recall seeing these signs for a long time. I know theres now two routes of canvey but I wouldnt mind betting theres at least 4 times the amount of People now.[/p][/quote]There was also a system where people who lived in bungalows had a two storey house to go to when an alert was sounded. I know because we were registered for a neighbour to come to us. Probably another thing that went when Canvey and Benfleet Councils were merged. John T Pharro
  • Score: 0

5:51pm Mon 30 Apr 12

EssexBoy1968 says...

Brunning999 says...
4:00pm Mon 30 Apr 12

Nothing is safe with all the cuts, in reality this means if you are not familiar with modern technology 'you die'

Yes, that infernal invention of Alexander Graham Bell (the "landline" telephone) is really difficult for people to become familar with, even after more than 100 years of use worldwide! & yes, my tongue is very firmly in my cheek.
Seriously though folks, I am sure that the county & local Emergency Planning Officers have taken all factors into consideration.
Brunning999 says... 4:00pm Mon 30 Apr 12 Nothing is safe with all the cuts, in reality this means if you are not familiar with modern technology 'you die' Yes, that infernal invention of Alexander Graham Bell (the "landline" telephone) is really difficult for people to become familar with, even after more than 100 years of use worldwide! & yes, my tongue is very firmly in my cheek. Seriously though folks, I am sure that the county & local Emergency Planning Officers have taken all factors into consideration. EssexBoy1968
  • Score: 0

6:00pm Mon 30 Apr 12

Sean4u says...

I don't get it. You have to register for and personally own and keep in a state of permanent readiness the right equipment to receive a "you are going to die unless you leave now" warning?

We're all in this together, obviously, unless we allow our subscription to lapse and then devil take the hindmost.

Haven't they only saved 36K until they do their first test, when they have to hire someone to knock on everyone's doors to check that they saw the text message and knew that if it didn't say "test" then they would have to flee immediately? I suppose they could save 100% of the cost of a Canvey Island flood warning system every year, until it floods again.
I don't get it. You have to register for and personally own and keep in a state of permanent readiness the right equipment to receive a "you are going to die unless you leave now" warning? We're all in this together, obviously, unless we allow our subscription to lapse and then devil take the hindmost. Haven't they only saved 36K until they do their first test, when they have to hire someone to knock on everyone's doors to check that they saw the text message and knew that if it didn't say "test" then they would have to flee immediately? I suppose they could save 100% of the cost of a Canvey Island flood warning system every year, until it floods again. Sean4u
  • Score: 0

6:05pm Mon 30 Apr 12

John T Pharro says...

EssexBoy1968 wrote:
Brunning999 says...
4:00pm Mon 30 Apr 12

Nothing is safe with all the cuts, in reality this means if you are not familiar with modern technology 'you die'

Yes, that infernal invention of Alexander Graham Bell (the "landline" telephone) is really difficult for people to become familar with, even after more than 100 years of use worldwide! & yes, my tongue is very firmly in my cheek.
Seriously though folks, I am sure that the county & local Emergency Planning Officers have taken all factors into consideration.
Yes and the "Authorities" probably said the same thing when Canvey flooded in 1953.
[quote][p][bold]EssexBoy1968[/bold] wrote: Brunning999 says... 4:00pm Mon 30 Apr 12 Nothing is safe with all the cuts, in reality this means if you are not familiar with modern technology 'you die' Yes, that infernal invention of Alexander Graham Bell (the "landline" telephone) is really difficult for people to become familar with, even after more than 100 years of use worldwide! & yes, my tongue is very firmly in my cheek. Seriously though folks, I am sure that the county & local Emergency Planning Officers have taken all factors into consideration.[/p][/quote]Yes and the "Authorities" probably said the same thing when Canvey flooded in 1953. John T Pharro
  • Score: 0

7:32pm Mon 30 Apr 12

bigidiot says...

keithrg wrote:
I think its a grave shame. They are part of canvey History I used to love it when they tested them. I think that they think it will never flood again. There used to be signs Guiding people to emergancy temp occomdation like Bastable School I cant recall seeing these signs for a long time. I know theres now two routes of canvey but I wouldnt mind betting theres at least 4 times the amount of People now.
I quite agree with Keithrg, as I too remember from my childhood years when the sirens used to be tested and just how clearly they could be heard. They are just one of a few memories of yesteryears sounds that have vanished into oblivion. I fail to see what is wrong with re-instating them if two fairly large local companies are prepared to help with the running costs...
[quote][p][bold]keithrg[/bold] wrote: I think its a grave shame. They are part of canvey History I used to love it when they tested them. I think that they think it will never flood again. There used to be signs Guiding people to emergancy temp occomdation like Bastable School I cant recall seeing these signs for a long time. I know theres now two routes of canvey but I wouldnt mind betting theres at least 4 times the amount of People now.[/p][/quote]I quite agree with Keithrg, as I too remember from my childhood years when the sirens used to be tested and just how clearly they could be heard. They are just one of a few memories of yesteryears sounds that have vanished into oblivion. I fail to see what is wrong with re-instating them if two fairly large local companies are prepared to help with the running costs... bigidiot
  • Score: 0

7:49pm Mon 30 Apr 12

Sean4u says...

I want to know how:
"Arrangements were already in place for energy companies ... to foot the bill for the running costs"
and
"The new Floodline Warning Direct Service will save the Essex County Council £36,000 a year"
adds up. If the costs are already taken care of, why can't Essex do what they want with Siren2.0, and the energy companies foot the bill for functional conservation of the Island's heritage? Is it too late / not possible to get the sirens listed?

http://www.english-h
eritage.org.uk/profe
ssional/protection/p
rocess/online-applic
ation-form/
I want to know how: "Arrangements were already in place for energy companies ... to foot the bill for the running costs" and "The new Floodline Warning Direct Service will save the Essex County Council £36,000 a year" adds up. If the costs are already taken care of, why can't Essex do what they want with Siren2.0, and the energy companies foot the bill for functional conservation of the Island's heritage? Is it too late / not possible to get the sirens listed? http://www.english-h eritage.org.uk/profe ssional/protection/p rocess/online-applic ation-form/ Sean4u
  • Score: 0

9:38pm Mon 30 Apr 12

Greatscot1777 says...

With double glazing and massive loud TV's, teenagers with headphones and iPods plugged in their ears half the time, not much chance of everyone hearing the good old sirens.

I recall them being tested in the 1960's and the fear in the faces of the old people as they clearly used to remind them of the war. So not all memories of the sirens are good, let's not mourn their passing.

Plus, let's not forget the 1953 floods killed so many due to Canvey being covered in lightly built bungalows. These days the majority of people live in substantially built houses, the highest flood water in '53 would barely reach the ground floor ceiling of modern properties. It just needs people in houses to look out for their bungalow dwelling neighbours. I am sure they will, Canvey has always been good like that.
With double glazing and massive loud TV's, teenagers with headphones and iPods plugged in their ears half the time, not much chance of everyone hearing the good old sirens. I recall them being tested in the 1960's and the fear in the faces of the old people as they clearly used to remind them of the war. So not all memories of the sirens are good, let's not mourn their passing. Plus, let's not forget the 1953 floods killed so many due to Canvey being covered in lightly built bungalows. These days the majority of people live in substantially built houses, the highest flood water in '53 would barely reach the ground floor ceiling of modern properties. It just needs people in houses to look out for their bungalow dwelling neighbours. I am sure they will, Canvey has always been good like that. Greatscot1777
  • Score: 0

10:01pm Mon 30 Apr 12

keithrg says...

My aunts 83 now and lives in a bunglow that just about survied the flood. She wasnt there at the time as she was at colchester barracks. Ill have to ask her what she knows about system. I gave her a mobile phone with my number to keep in her bedroom incase she needs help but I dont think she has any idea how to read messages. But she doesnt often get to her land line in time to answer it. I always have to ring twice. Does the system allow for this. Would the phone lines cope I know if we get to much water in the pits the phones oftern give up or High winds could knock out the over ground lines. I always felt most sorry for the fresh water fish they dont stand a chance :(
My aunts 83 now and lives in a bunglow that just about survied the flood. She wasnt there at the time as she was at colchester barracks. Ill have to ask her what she knows about system. I gave her a mobile phone with my number to keep in her bedroom incase she needs help but I dont think she has any idea how to read messages. But she doesnt often get to her land line in time to answer it. I always have to ring twice. Does the system allow for this. Would the phone lines cope I know if we get to much water in the pits the phones oftern give up or High winds could knock out the over ground lines. I always felt most sorry for the fresh water fish they dont stand a chance :( keithrg
  • Score: 0

10:15am Tue 1 May 12

John T Pharro says...

There is absolutely no way they will be reinstated. Not only were the sirens removed so were the electric supplies and the steel gantries they were supported on.
The decision to have them removed was by Essex County Council at a cabinet meeting.
Of all the most abused and anti democratic systems put in this cabinet method of making decisions has to be number 1. The only recourse is for other Councillors to challenge a decision made. When that happens it seems to never get overturned.
That especially happens in Castle Point Council.
There is absolutely no way they will be reinstated. Not only were the sirens removed so were the electric supplies and the steel gantries they were supported on. The decision to have them removed was by Essex County Council at a cabinet meeting. Of all the most abused and anti democratic systems put in this cabinet method of making decisions has to be number 1. The only recourse is for other Councillors to challenge a decision made. When that happens it seems to never get overturned. That especially happens in Castle Point Council. John T Pharro
  • Score: 0

12:22pm Tue 1 May 12

metneyx says...

I think its terrible they are going to be scrapped. they are part of history and would do their job perfectly as everyone on the island can hear them and are aware of their use. to rely so heavily on technology in such a situation seems far too risky and open to failure when new year texts fail as the systems fold! i think they are hoping the procedure doesnt have to be used so will save £s in the mean time as there are no up keep costs! Should the day it ever need to be used it will be a dark wet day with lots of people floating by or gridlocked chaos!
I think its terrible they are going to be scrapped. they are part of history and would do their job perfectly as everyone on the island can hear them and are aware of their use. to rely so heavily on technology in such a situation seems far too risky and open to failure when new year texts fail as the systems fold! i think they are hoping the procedure doesnt have to be used so will save £s in the mean time as there are no up keep costs! Should the day it ever need to be used it will be a dark wet day with lots of people floating by or gridlocked chaos! metneyx
  • Score: 0

12:55pm Tue 1 May 12

Tom from Southend says...

Not convinced more than 50% will get off the island when the next flood hits with or without sirens. Waterside farm roundabout and Sadlers can't cope now. It is the choice of islanders to live there. I would not take the risk with my family, siren or no siren, oh and not to mention more development going up all the time.
Not convinced more than 50% will get off the island when the next flood hits with or without sirens. Waterside farm roundabout and Sadlers can't cope now. It is the choice of islanders to live there. I would not take the risk with my family, siren or no siren, oh and not to mention more development going up all the time. Tom from Southend
  • Score: 0

6:16pm Tue 1 May 12

John T Pharro says...

Tom from Southend wrote:
Not convinced more than 50% will get off the island when the next flood hits with or without sirens. Waterside farm roundabout and Sadlers can't cope now. It is the choice of islanders to live there. I would not take the risk with my family, siren or no siren, oh and not to mention more development going up all the time.
Thanks for your sympathy Tom. Perhaps it didn't occur to you, but many people moved to Canvey because like me they couldn't afford to live elsewhere.
What you are actually reading is a community which for the most part actually try to support one another.
Do you know people on Canvey actually talk to each other, even when they don't know them. Something I have never experienced in Southend.
[quote][p][bold]Tom from Southend[/bold] wrote: Not convinced more than 50% will get off the island when the next flood hits with or without sirens. Waterside farm roundabout and Sadlers can't cope now. It is the choice of islanders to live there. I would not take the risk with my family, siren or no siren, oh and not to mention more development going up all the time.[/p][/quote]Thanks for your sympathy Tom. Perhaps it didn't occur to you, but many people moved to Canvey because like me they couldn't afford to live elsewhere. What you are actually reading is a community which for the most part actually try to support one another. Do you know people on Canvey actually talk to each other, even when they don't know them. Something I have never experienced in Southend. John T Pharro
  • Score: 0

7:08pm Tue 1 May 12

Last Poster says...

Why does everything the council don't want have to cost untold thousands of pounds. Most sites that require alarms these days use electronic solid state devices, not motor driven sirens. we all hear them when in use by the emergency service vehicles. They can be operated by back up batteries in the event of a power failure, and I am sure some telecom whizz kid could tell you how they can operate in people's houses via their telephone lines. If any people lose there lives over this couldn't care less Council, I think the time will have arrived to rethink exactly who runs what. Do the council work in the interest of all the people or just the selected few?
Why does everything the council don't want have to cost untold thousands of pounds. Most sites that require alarms these days use electronic solid state devices, not motor driven sirens. we all hear them when in use by the emergency service vehicles. They can be operated by back up batteries in the event of a power failure, and I am sure some telecom whizz kid could tell you how they can operate in people's houses via their telephone lines. If any people lose there lives over this couldn't care less Council, I think the time will have arrived to rethink exactly who runs what. Do the council work in the interest of all the people or just the selected few? Last Poster
  • Score: 0

1:57pm Wed 2 May 12

Biffo-bear says...

I'm glad I don't live on Canvey but I feel sorry for the people who do.
I'm glad I don't live on Canvey but I feel sorry for the people who do. Biffo-bear
  • Score: 0

7:26pm Wed 2 May 12

mulattokid says...

How on earth are lives to be saved if there is a storm surge at 4am in the morning?

This is Tory forced money saving. They scrapped the countries other sirens in 1994. No other country in Europe has done the same, as it in not in their peoples interest.

The cost of everything and the value of nothing!
How on earth are lives to be saved if there is a storm surge at 4am in the morning? This is Tory forced money saving. They scrapped the countries other sirens in 1994. No other country in Europe has done the same, as it in not in their peoples interest. The cost of everything and the value of nothing! mulattokid
  • Score: 0

5:30pm Thu 3 May 12

The Cater Wood Creeper says...

what is the scrap value of these items and where is the money going?
what is the scrap value of these items and where is the money going? The Cater Wood Creeper
  • Score: 0

7:03pm Thu 3 May 12

Last Poster says...

Probably to pay for the Basildon sporting village! Well our council are selling everything of the people's off to pay for that, why not some of Canvey's property as well?
Just noticed all the bad spelling in my last post above. They must have sold my spell checker as well :(
Probably to pay for the Basildon sporting village! Well our council are selling everything of the people's off to pay for that, why not some of Canvey's property as well? Just noticed all the bad spelling in my last post above. They must have sold my spell checker as well :( Last Poster
  • Score: 0

7:47pm Thu 3 May 12

John T Pharro says...

The Cater Wood Creeper wrote:
what is the scrap value of these items and where is the money going?
Dale Farm? Seriously Councillor Howard has salvaged I think 12 and is storing them on his chicken farm. He is looking to donate them and has offered one to the Bay Museum and one to The Heritage Centre.
[quote][p][bold]The Cater Wood Creeper[/bold] wrote: what is the scrap value of these items and where is the money going?[/p][/quote]Dale Farm? Seriously Councillor Howard has salvaged I think 12 and is storing them on his chicken farm. He is looking to donate them and has offered one to the Bay Museum and one to The Heritage Centre. John T Pharro
  • Score: 0

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