A NEW campaign aiming to raise awareness of the dangers of flood water is being launched at White River Place in St Austell on Saturday.
With the recent heavy rain causing considerable localised flooding on roads throughout the county, Safer Cornwall - the community safety partnership for Cornwall - is launching a new multi-agency campaign in a bid to warn drivers of the dangers of driving through floodwater.
The ‘Turn Around Don’t Drown’ initiative aims to raise awareness of how dangerous floodwater can be, with the message that it takes as little as 60cm of standing water to float a car and under 30cm of flowing water to push a vehicle off the road.
Fire fighter and campaign coordinator Andy Reynolds said: “Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service saw a 400% increase in flood calls in 2012/13 affecting large parts of Cornwall, we hope that this campaign will raise awareness of the dangers encountered when driving or walking in floodwater.”
Drivers are being warned that even if the water does not appear very deep the road surface below could be damaged as flooding often causes damage to the layer below the tarmac, resulting in the road collapsing when the weight of a vehicle passes over it.
Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service and Cornwall Council Road Safety will be joined by representatives from the Cornwall Flood Forum and the Flashpoint Centre at the launch, which will see shoppers greeted with a host of information and advice, as well as some interactive activities to demonstrate the dangers of floodwater.
Road Safety Officer for Cornwall Council Tamsin Ferris said: “We are very pleased to be involved in this worthwhile campaign, surface and flood water can pose a serious road safety risk. I would encourage drivers to ensure they adjust their driving according to the conditions, always making sure their lights are on and they slow down in bad weather.”
A water rescue vehicle with specialist equipment will be available for the public to view, as well as demonstrations designed to show the weight of water at certain depths, in a bid to warn pedestrians how dangerous it can be to walk through floods.
Children will get the opportunity to try to lasso a ‘body’ to allow them to begin to experience the difficult job faced by fire rescue crews in a flooding situation, and families will also be encouraged to take part in an activity to identify the various materials that are found in flood water.