Northumbria Local Resilience Forum

Here you will find information about this vital emergency response forum.

The forum consists of organisations and agencies involved with emergency response in communities across Northumberland and Tyne and Wear.

The Northumbria Local Resilience Forum consists of organisations and agencies involved with emergency response in our communities across the Northumberland and Tyne and Wear area.

Local resilience forums were developed under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 to co-ordinate the actions and arrangements between responding bodies in the area - to provide the most effective and efficient response to civil emergencies when they occur (see role of local resilience forum).

Visit the site to find out more about the risks the forum has identified in our area and the plans we have put in place to ensure that our communities are resilient and robust.

This website provides local people and businesses with information and advice on steps you can take to be better prepared before, during and after an emergency.

At times of emergency, this website will be used to publish information about what is happening, how the emergency is being managed, where to find further information and how you can assist. It will also direct any enquiries to the North East Information Line (NEIL) - 08456 004 004.

For more information please contact us. Alternatively, view our news bulletins here. 

The aim of the Northumbria Local Resilience Forum is to facilitate multi-agency working to fulfil the requirements of the Civil Contingencies Act 2004.

Our objectives

The objectives of the Northumbria Local Resilience Forum are:
  • to facilitate co-operation between local responder organisations such as the police and local authorities
  • to facilitate information sharing between local responder organisations
  • to assess the risk of emergencies in the Northumbria Local Resilience Forum area
  • to facilitate the development of multi-agency emergency plans and arrangements
  • to assist local authorities in promoting business continuity in the local community
  • to ensure that suitable arrangements are in place to warn, inform and advise the public in the event of emergency

Our membership

The Northumbria Local Resilience Forum membership is made up of responder organisations found within the Northumbria Police area boundary. The Civil Contingencies Act divides local responders into two categories, imposing different duties on each.

Category one

These organisations are at the core of the response to most emergencies (e.g. emergency services, local authorities, NHS bodies). They’re subject to the full set of civil protection duties. They’re required to:
  • assess the risk of emergencies occurring and use this to inform contingency planning
  • put in place emergency plans
  • put in place business continuity management arrangements
  • put in place arrangements to make information available to the public about civil protection matters and maintain arrangements to warn, inform and advise the public in the event of an emergency
  • share information with other local responders to enhance co-ordination;
  • co-operate with other local responders to enhance co-ordination and efficiency
  • provide advice and assistance to businesses and voluntary organisations about business continuity management (local authorities only)

Category two

These "co-operating bodies" are less likely to be involved in the heart of planning work but will be heavily involved in incidents that affect their sector. They have a lesser set of duties - co-operating and sharing relevant information with other responders.

Organisations from both categories come together to create forums (based on police areas) which help co-ordination and co-operation between responders at the local level.

The bulk of part one of the Civil Contingencies Act gave a duty to local authorities to provide advice and assistance to business and voluntary organisations about business continuity management.

This includes ‘blue light’ responders such as the police, fire and rescue services, ambulance services and local authorities, NHS bodies, environment agency and voluntary organisations who support emergency management in the area.


The forum was developed as part of the Civil Contingencies Act to co-ordinate an effective and efficient response to civil emergencies.

This can include incidents involving the police, fire & rescue service, ambulance service, NHS bodies and local authorities.

During emergencies, we will also publish information about what is happening, where to find further information and how you can help.
There are helpful sections about how to help yourself, your business and your community during emergencies.

This includes ways that you can pre-empt emergencies, and advises you on how to best plan for these situations.

There is also a section about how to deal with an emergency and how to recover afterwards.

It also tells you about the other agencies that work with us, and the legislation that we, and our partners, are governed by.
An emergency is any event or situation which threatens serious damage to people, property and / or the environment.

What is an emergency?

An emergency is any event or situation which threatens serious damage to people, property and / or the environment.

There may be times when an emergency affects you, but your life isn’t in immediate danger. In these times, you need to know how to help yourself and those around you. Find out how you and your family can prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies. Look at ‘before an emergency’ for more information.

The role of the forum is to assess the risks which the community of Northumbria might face and to plan how each agency will respond to deal with them. The sorts of emergencies that could affect people in Northumbria are severe weather, flooding, industrial accidents or pandemic influenza outbreak. For further detail refer to the community risk register (CRR).

Specific plans are developed, tested and exercised to ensure that partners are aware of and can fulfil their roles in the event of a multi-agency response being required to some of the risks identified in the CRR (click here to go to library section).

Other generic plans are developed to provide a framework for multi-agency responses for less frequent or unexpected events and situations. 

The experiences of people who have been through the trauma of an emergency situation are used to help the Forum frame its plans so that the best advive and support can be made available - see for example Ready for Anything from the Red Cross  Return to home page.


How to prepare

Consider the risks you might face:

Do you live in a flood risk area?

See also: 

  • DEFRA - flood portal
  • For information on some of the main risks which the Northumbria LRF has identified, go to the Community Risk Register.
  • The Environment Agency provides specific guidance on identifying if you live in a flood risk area and, if so, what actions you might take on their flood information page. 
  • Reducing Threat from River and Coastal Change.
  • Planning for emergencies in advance can minimise the disruption you might face and could even save lives. Have a look at Preparing for Emergencies for more advice.
  • You might also look at the interactive preparing for flood advice on the Environment Agency website and Flood Destroys - Be Prepared.
  • If you are threatened by flooding, look at flood protection products.
  • Consider making your own emergency checklist of the actions and key contacts you will need in the event of an emergency requiring you to evacuate from your home.
  • Consider putting together an emergency "Grab Bag" to keep in a safe place ready in case the worst happens.
  • Consider whether your buildings and contents insurance gives you cover for the key risks likely to affect your home. See Obtaining Flood Insurance in High Risk Areas. Make a note of insurance policy numbers and copies of the policies to keep in your Grab Bag.
  • Consider enrolling for a First Aid course for you / your family for any medical emergencies.
  • Identify where your gas / electricity and water services come into your home and how to turn them off (stop cocks) in the event of an emergency.
  • Make a list of key emergency service numbers (police, ambulance, fire and rescue, and water, gas, electricity suppliers for example) and keep a copy in the Grab Bag.
  • Make sure family members know where the Grab Bag is located and don't forget to update the contents of the emergency checklist from time to time as contact numbers etc may change.


The advice for most emergencies is normally GO IN, STAY IN AND TUNE IN.
  • Go Indoors unless there is an obvious risk to the property or you are advised to evacuate for your safety by the emergency services. Close all doors and windows and, if the emergency is related to potential flooding, block any air bricks/grates if possible. If the emergency is related to release of any toxic substances also close any ventilation systems (if safe to do so).
  • Stay Indoors until you know more about the risks or are advised that it is safe to leave your home.
  • Tune In to local radio (see here) or television stations for updates on the situation or, if you have access to the website, visit relevant web sites (see links page).
Don't try to phone the emergency services unless you yourself have an emergency as the phone lines may be busy dealing with the incident.

Also refer to the Met Office website for up to date information and forecasts on weather conditions. 

Additional advice  

  • If a contact number or website address is issued by the emergency services, use it to get updates but remember you will be one of many people trying to use it so there may be some delay in getting through. Be patient and keep trying if you cannot get the information you want from other sources.
  • Do not put yourself, or others, in any danger.
  • When checking for injuries to yourself or others always attend to yourself first.
  • Consider if there are any elderly or vulnerable neighbours who may need help in preparing for or during an emergency.
  • If advised to do so, be prepared to evacuate and follow any instructions with regard to safe routes away from the danger area.  
  • Flooding presents a number of risks to health, drowning being the most obvious. Serious injury can be caused by falling into fast flowing water or from hidden dangers under the water, such as missing manhole covers. The stress and strain of being flooded and cleaning up can have a notable impact on mental health and wellbeing.
  • If evacuation is recommended, a rendezvous point for evacuees will normally be established and a rest centre set up for longer term emergency incidents where you will be able to stay.
  • If you choose not to use the rest centre, please advise the emergency services staff at the rest centre of your alternative arrangements so people are not deployed to "search" for you if you cannot be located.


Once an emergency incident has been dealt with and any risk to people, property and/or the environment has been dealt with, the recovery phase will begin for you, your family and your community.

Actions to consider:

  • If the all clear has been given, and you have remained in your property, check externally for any damage and, if any is identified, contact your insurer (or landlord if you live in rented property).
  • If there is structural damage contact your local council (see links page) for advice on safety of your building and any action required.
  • If you have evacuated during the emergency carry out an external visual inspection around the house before entering the property. Only if there is no obvious structural damage should you enter the property to look for any internal damage or effects from the emergency.
  • When entering the property do not switch on lights, electrical equipment or have any naked lights until you are satisfied there is no smell of gas (if used in the property).
  • If there is internal damage again contact your insurer (or landlord) and do not carry out any remedial work until they have given their authorisation.
  • Consider if there are any elderly or vulnerable neighbours who might need your assistance.
  • Flooding presents a number of risks to health, drowning being the most obvious. Serious injury can be caused by falling into fast flowing water or from hidden dangers under the water, such as missing manhole covers. The stress and strain of being flooded and cleaning up can have a notable impact on mental health and wellbeing.
  • Consider what future resilience you can build into your property and what support might be available - see

Health advice:

Please remember: 

Your local council, emergency services and/or utility providers may still be dealing with the aftermath and people and property affected by the emergency, so services may not be available as quickly as normally provided. Please be patient.


Statistics show that almost one in five businesses will be affected by a major disruption every year. The consequences can result in loss of customers, revenue and even the business itself.

How you can help your business

There are ways that you can reduce the risks to your business by preparing a ‘business continuity plan’. In this you consider risks like flooding, severe weather, pandemic influenza or industrial accident and plan how you could overcome them.

Consider what would happen if you lost:

  • staff due to a pandemic influenza or other contagious disease
  • your premises due to fire or flooding or structural damage after severe weather
  • technology/ data - due to loss of power loss/ IT failure
  • supply chain due to bad weather or other factors
  • customers due to bad weather, such a prolonged heavy snow

Other sources to consider:

Be prepared

Business continuity management is a process which provides a  framework to help you and your business respond to emergencies and recover more quickly if and when they occur. For advice and information look at Business Continuity Advice for Dummies

Why it is important to have a plan

  • A business continuity plan critically assesses the risks to your business and sets out the steps you can take to mitigate the effects of those risks if they ever occur.
  • Once you've assessed the possible risks you can consider what mitigation you can undertake to reduce the impacts such as insurance. If you're business is in an area likely to flood, for example, consider Obtaining Flood Insurance in HIgh Risk Areas.
  • A plan, just like a fire drill, should be known by your staff and tested and exercised on a regular basis to ensure it stays relevant to your circumstances and up to date with any changes in the business.

Benefits of having a plan 

  • For your customers, knowing you have a business continuity plan (BCP) can give them confidence in the sustainability of your organisation and services.
  • For you and your organisation, ensuring your suppliers have a BCP can give you confidence in the consistency of your supply chain.

Creating a plan

The following five key steps will help your organisation create a business continuity plan:-
  1. know your business
  2. assess the risks
  3. develop a strategy
  4. develop and keep developing the plan
  5. rehearse and train staff in the plan 

For further information and guidance look at:

  • Emergencies do not have a set schedule or time frame. They can arise slowly with issues such as a pandemic influenza outbreak or more quickly such as severe weather or flooding. It is important that, as an organisation, you are able to recognise the risk(s) and to respond as early as possible.
  • Listen out to local radio and television bulletins.
  • If the incident is weather-related, refer to the Met Office for updates and forecasts on weather conditions to help your planning and response.
  • 90% of businesses that lose data from a disaster are forced to close within two years.  


  • Start a log of events and actions taken in response.
  • Activate your business continuity plan.
  • Identify which staff you need and what they will do.
  • Premises - do you need to look at relocation of premises/processes?
  • Supplies - what do you need and where can they be sourced?
  • Services - what ones are key to your business?
  • Communications to stakeholders, staff, suppliers and the public about the effects to your business. 

Consider what you need to do for your recovery process

What arrangements have you identified in your business continuity plan (BCP)?
  • Clean up - Is special(list) cleaning services/equipment required for clean up? Is it readily available?
  • Insurance - Does your policy cover business disruption due to emergencies?
  • Premises - Do you need to relocate? Are suitable premises identified in your plan? Are suitable premises available immediately?
  • Staff - Are all staff safe? If you have to relocate, can staff access new premises easily? Is transport required? Do you need additional staff?
  • Data - Has all data been secured and backed up to allow for re-installation when premises re-open?
  • Processes - Can processes be re-established or transferred easily/quickly to minimise disruption?
  • Suppliers - Can suppliers identify and access any relocation facility?
  • Customers - Can customers access premises easily/safely?
  • Communications - Do you need to publicise any changes in location/service? 

Lessons to be learned

  • At the earliest opportunity, carry out a debrief of key staff to see what went well and what didn't, and what may need to be changed in your BCP from the lessons to be learned.
  • Record the issues and identify appropriate responses / changes to be made and review the BCP against those.
  • When you've reviewed and revised your BCP make sure all staff know what is in it and their role(s).   
  • Consider what future resilience you can build into your property and what support might be available - see

See also:

Return to Home Page.
When an emergency occurs it can affect the whole community. While the emergency services are dealing with the effects and consequences, your time and energy can help to deal with the social aspects.

Helping Your Community

As a member of a voluntary or community organisation such as British Red Cross, St. John's Ambulance, a church group and many others, your time and skills can be used in the response and recovery phases.

You and other members of your community can plan ahead to identify risks and work together to mitigate their effects. 
See community resilience  or communities prepared.
Consider volunteering for a local voluntary or community group activity.

This can be rewarding in itself and gives you a way to use any particular skills or interests you might have .

Whether this is as a member of the village hall committee, British Red Cross or some other past-time, it gives you an opportunity to learn about your community and develop other skills which might benefit your family and / or community in the wider context.

Some of the Voluntary Sector organisations the Northumbria LRF works with on a regular basis are shown in the Northumbria Voluntary Emergency Services Directory and you may like to contact them to see if you can become a member.

From an emergency response view point, volunteers from recognised organisations are more likely to be used than "ad hoc" volunteers as their background will be known to their organisation "managers" and skills recognised.   

Some voluntary organisations regularly work with the emergency services in preparing and testing plans for emergency responses so their personnel are known to the emergency services and they are aware of the processes and procedures which might be used. See also: Return to Home Page.
  • Firstly, ensure your own safety, don't put yourself or anyone else at risk in looking to support an emergency response.
  • Tune in to local radio / television channels to keep abreast of the news and developments in the emergency and be able to respond to any instructions or advice from the emergency services. If you observe problems, such as rising flood waters, do contact and advise the emergency services if this looks likely to pose a risk to you or others in your community.   
  • If you are a member of a recognised Category 2 responder agency - Red Cross, Salvation Army, Mountain Rescue Team etc - you may be contacted by your manager to support an emergency response either in a rest centre or other capacity. You will be given advice on where to attend and the relevant weather / road conditions.
  • Ensure you have the right clothing and equipment to make the journey and, if you have any doubt about being able to get to the location safely, advise your manager and do not attempt to travel as you may only add to the emergency situation.
  • If you can travel safely to the agreed location then do so and your assistance, in whatever capacity has been requested, will be gratefully received.
Non-associated "convergent" or "spontaneous" volunteers are people who wish to offer assistance to the response but are not directly linked to a Category 2 responding agency or voluntary agency and come forward to offer assistance without request.

More often than not people do appear who want to offer their help without being called out. While volunteers are always welcome and can make the response that bit easier, please be aware that you may not be needed at the time you present yourself and may be asked to "come back later" or to do another task rather than one you thought you might want to do. 

An example might be a rest centre where the manager has already contacted relevant voluntary organisations for support staff. If you attend to offer help, you might be asked to assist with making and distributing tea and coffee for a period until other staff arrive, or even asked to perhaps come back in a few hours as there are enough staff already available to manage the centre.

If a rest centre is likely to be operating for a number of hours, or even days, the availability of a pool of volunteers to assist will be welcomed to provide consistent and adequate support to the pepole affected.  

Please do not take offence - your details should be taken and contact information noted when you present yourself.

Recognise that the rest centre is a place of safety for those people affected by the emergency, whatever that might be, and it is the relevant council's responsibility to ensure the safety of the people involved. People attending, not linked to recognised voluntary agencies, are unknown and as such a "risk".

It is the responsibility of the rest centre manager (council) to manage the resources available without putting people at risk and so they would look to ensure that any unknown volunteers are always supervised and supported for their own and the council's benefit.   

Your assistance would always be welcomed but hopefully you will appreciate that it has to be managed according to the situation and needs of the response.
If you refer to the opening page of this section, Help Your Community, you will see a reference to the community resilience programme, you can get guidance from this on how you might help your community after any emergency.

Severe weather or flooding events can have significant effects on communities both environmentally and psychologically. The need to come together and support each other in those type of events is particularly important  for the longer term recovery. Be aware and keep an eye out for neighbours showing signs of stress after such events and try to guide the to appropriate support services.

Some agencies will continue to work in, be available to and assist communities well after the actual incident has passed. Alert them to any concerns you might have for yourself or for others.

If you yourself have been affected by the event you can look to your local council for assistance. They will normally establish a humanitarian assistance service or centre where you can get advice on all aspects of the recovery and restoration process from how to safely dispose of damaged goods to insurance and accommodation advice.

You can promote these services to others affected in your community who might need similar assistance or help - vulnerable, disabled or hard to reach neighbours may not readily access such support themselves so your assistance will help them access the support available. You can also submit names and contact details of such people to the humanitarian assistance service so they can make contact directly.

If you are able, you can help with the recovery and restoration programme in assisting with clearance of debris or other materials from your own and neighbours' property in a safe manner. Be aware that some debris may be contaminated and you should follow any guidance regarding the safe clearance of materials which can be provided by the council, Environment Agency or other agencies involved.  If you volunteer to assist with wider community clean-up programmes the managing service will give you the necessary health and safety advice and personal protective equipment to participate safely.

Depending on the type and effects of the Emergency there may be local fund raising activities established to support those affected. There may also be local commemorative events and activities organised to acknowledge the event and those affected. It is your personal choice as to how you become involved in these.
The Northumbria Local Resilience Forum is not a statutory body, but each of its members have statutory duties under the Civil Contingencies Act, 2004.

The Northumbria Local Resilience Forum is not a statutory body, but each of its members have statutory duties under the Civil Contingencies Act, 2004.

Their duties are to co-operate and work together to identify the risks likely to or actually affecting Northumbria, publish their assessment of those in the community risk register and make necessary plans to prevent, mitigate or deal with impacts of those risks.

You can see examples of these plans in our library section. Some are not available to the public, due to confidential content. 

The forum doesn’t have any personnel, workforce or resources so can’t respond to any emergency incident. It can, however, ensure that member bodies are well placed to give assistance and offer mutual aid to each other when required.

The forum is able to facilitate the inter-agency working required, both in Northumbria and nationally, to give effect to the various plans for dealing with the identified risks and promote awareness through making those plans available to the public through this website and other communication media. 

When an emergency has impacts which cross local authority boundaries, or is of such a scale that individuals cannot deal with the issues alone, the forum may come together as a strategic co-ordinating group (SCG) by declaring a Major Incident to provide a multi-agency co-ordinated response to the threats and impacts. (see LRF Multi Agency Major Incident Declaration Protocol here)

These will normally be chaired by the police or other appropriate agency until the emergency is over. The recovery phase will then be led by the relevant local authority or agency.

Return to home page.
A resource of relevant documentation

Links to support partners

As well as the normal national and local BBC and ITV Television Channels you can also get information on a current emergency situation through a local radio station

Borders Radio on fm 96.8 or 102.3 (Berwick upon Tweed and Borders)

BBC Newcastle
         fm 95.4 (Newcastle)
         fm 96.0 (Wooler)
         fm 103.7 (Newton, Northumberland)
         fm 104.4 (Gateshead)
         am 1458 - North East

Capital FM on 105-106

CVFM on fm 104.5 (Sunderland)

Lionheart Radio on fm 107.3 (Alnwick)

Magic 1152 on  am 1152 (Newcastle and Durham)

Metro Radio
         fm 97.1 (Newcastle)
         fm 102.6 (Alnwick and Amble)
         fm 103.0 (Gateshead)
         fm 103.2 (Hexham and Corbridge)

NE1 FM on fm 102.5 (Tyneside)

Spark FM on fm 107.0 (Sunderland)

Spice FM on fm 98.8 (Newcastle)

Sun FM on 103.4 (Sunderland)
Contact details for Northumbria Local Resilience Forum

John Heckels
Northumbria Local Resilience Forum Manager
Mobile: 07885 263120

Base Location:

Etal Lane Police Station
Etal Lane
Newcastle Upon Tyne

Click here to visit the Northumbria Local Resilence website.

From time to time we'll provide news bulletins on activities and developments related to the work of the Forum here.

Please follow the links provided to see what's happening in Northumbria and nationally. See latest items below:

Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 2015

The Community Engagement project has been established by the Northumbria Regional Flood and Coast Committee bringing together a unique and exciting partnership between Lead Local Flood Authorities and the Environment Agency.

We have dedicated engagement officers working throughout the North East tasked with helping communities understand their flood risk and learn how they can better prepare for and recover from flooding. We aim to give people the knowledge and power to become more self-reliant, focussing on two-way dialogue with communities, working in partnership with them to develop resilience in the face of flood risk. We have Colin Hall who works throughout Northumberland and Clare Sweeney who works across Tyne and Wear. 

A team photo

Developing a community understanding of what flood alerts and warnings look like in an area can help people know how to react and what actions to take when faced with heavy rainfall and rising river levels. There are three different types of warnings:

Flood alert - Prepare
Flood alert image - A black house with one line of water in a amber triangle
  • prepare a bag that includes medicines and insurance documents
  • check flood warnings
Flood warning - Act
Flood warning image - A black house with two lines of water in a triangle
  • turn off gas, water and electricity
  • move things upstairs or to safety
  • move family, pets and car to safety
Severe flood warning - Survive
Severe Flood warning image - A red house with three lines of water in a triangle
  • call 999 if in immediate danger
  • follow advice from emergency services
  • keep yourself and your family safe

Click this link for a guide to learn to what to do in a flood.

Flooding in Northumbria

Northumbria covers Northumberland and Tyne and Wear. Colin and Clare work closely with the Northumbria LRF and the six local council flood risk management teams and emergency planners.  We provide support with flood plans for homes, businesses and schools. We can help communities to set up flood groups and provide training and support for those groups; our volunteers are called flood wardens.  In order to pass on important safety information, we deliver educational sessions for all ages about flooding and climate change and how to prepare for emergencies.

There are different types of flooding: surface water from rainfall or snow; surface water from burst pipes or broken reservoirs; river or coastal flooding and groundwater flooding  

Your local council manages surface water on the roads, as well as smaller (ordinary) watercourses. 
Northumbrian Water manages clean water, sewerage, and the pipes it moves around the area in. 
The Environment Agency takes care of rivers, coasts and reservoirs. 

If you're able to identify the source of the flooding, call the appropriate number:

  • Call 999 if you, or anyone else, is in immediate danger
  • Newcastle Council - 0191 278 7878 (ask for Envirocall)
  • Gateshead Council - 0191 433 3000 or 0191 477 0844 (24 hour Emergency Number)
  • South Tyneside - 0191 427 7000
  • North Tyneside - 0345 2000 103 (7:30am - 8pm , Mon-Fri) 0191 200 6800 (Outside office hours)
  • Sunderland Council -  0191 520 5550
  • Northumberland Council - 0345 6006400
  • Northumbrian Water - 0800 328 7648
  • Environment Agency - 0345 988 1188

Our favourite links:

Building a flood group in an area allows the community the chance to greatly improve their resilience to flooding. There are lots of things which can be achieved by working together as a team such as identifying people in the community who may need support in preparing for flooding in their home or evacuating. Groups can apply for grants to buy property level protection for buildings of importance such as community centres and places of worship. We provide all the support needed to establish and build a group and train the members as volunteer flood wardens. Flood wardens are key to increasing resilience in an area and a great way to support your local community.

Read more about Flood wardens on the communities prepared website.

The map below shows areas where we have wardens in place and where we hope to develop new groups. Please get in contact if you would like to become a flood warden or establish a group on your area. 

We work with young people from KS1 right through to Higher education including those with special educational needs. 

A group of school children working on flood plans

Our work focuses on schools or catchment areas in flood risk areas. Activities can include:
  • Writing a school flood plan
  • Learning about flood warnings and how to stay safe
  • Making emergency grab bags
  • Think about where we would put our favourite toy to keep it safe
  • Parent sessions to give the young people a chance to show off what they have learned
  • Build rain gardens
  • Run scenarios to challenge students to come up with flood solutions such as barriers and sustainable drainage systems
University students present ideas for flood management
We work with businesses in flood risk areas to help them understand their risk and develop business focussed flood plans. 

These flood plans can be used to keep staff safe and take action to limit damage to stock and equipment. Flood wardens can be established to highlight accessible evacuation routes and safe muster points as well as being responsible for taking action to put flood protection place or move stock when warnings are received. Most companies have a plan in case of a fire, but statistics show that flooding poses a greater threat. 
The plans can also help to formalise links with surrounding businesses. For example, could a neighbour with an upstairs hold stock temporarily while ground floor property is at risk of flooding? Does another building have room in a fridge to temporarily hold stock while electricity has been turned off? 
A business door with a flood gate set up in front

You could also explore ways to protect your property: this might be products to stop water coming into the building, or adaptations you can make to your property so that damage is minimised. Often a combination of both works best.
Flooding has a huge impact on lives physically and financially but also mentally. It is therefore vital that you if you live in a flood risk zone (you can check here) and learn about what you can do to prepare if a flood should occur. We hold events in community areas to update people about flood risk in the area, how to sign up to the flood warning service and different flood resilience and resistance methods. The Environment Agency estimates that keeping all 2.4m at-risk homes at the existing level of flood risk for the next 25 years will cost £1bn per year by 2035. The average cost to a home of being flooded is £20,000 to £30,000. Therefore, any mitigation of risk can be very valuable in protecting the home. 
You can explore ways to protect your property: this might be products to stop water coming into the building, or adaptations you can make to your property so that damage is minimised. Often a combination of both works best.

Get in contact for more information as to how to help protect your home from flooding. 

Residents learning more about flooding at an event
We're taking our community groups online 

Flood barriers up next to the River Tyne

The way we live and work dramatically shifted earlier this year. Undeterred the engagement officers have moved conversations with, and training for our flood wardens online. There are lots of considerations and preparations to make before flood risk arises and plans need to be kept up to date. We have worked closely with the local councils and our flood groups to adapt their standard flood plans to meet with current covid-19 government guidelines. Officers have also helped flood groups to interact while they cannot meet in person. 

Our role is not limited to winter where heavy rainfall and flooding might be more commonly expected. Some of the most dramatic flooding seen in Tyne and Wear was in June 2012 when a large storm hit causing  50 mm (a months’ worth of rain) to fall in two hours. Many people across the area will remember the huge impact it had on transport, homes and local businesses. The weather event was to become known as ‘Thunder Thursday’ - or the Great Tyneside Storm. This photo of Tyne Bridge being struck by bolts of lightning is now iconic in relation to the event. On the day trains, Metros and buses services were either suspended or faced major delays as commuters struggled to make their way home, many taking several hours or having to find shelter in hotels or with friends or family.

Across the region around 23,000 homes were left without power as the weather made access to some substations and power lines difficult. Shopkeepers frantically lay sandbags in a bid to stop the waters destroying their business and residents were evacuated as the water severely damaged their homes. In Northumberland, high streets were swamped with more than a foot of water as cars were either submerged or were carried away by the water. After this event we have had to think differently about extreme weather and re-evaluated our defences with helpful input and insight from many communities across the area. The Newcastle-Gateshead quayside now benefits from a temporary barrier which can be assembled when the river level rises to a level which may overtop the side walls. 

It is vital that we keep the conversation in the forefront of peoples minds so that they are able to take some control of a situation which is often unexpected and heart breaking for those involved. 2020 has been a strange year for all of us, for many of us it is hard to remember back just a few months ago to the major flooding across the UK. The risk still exists and it is important we plan and prepare as best we can. 

If you think you could help out as a volunteer flood warden in your area or would like more information, please get in touch. 

For more information or to request a workshop in your community please email us at

A group taking part in a flood warning tabletop activity