SEPA calls on young people to share flooding knowledge

date13 November 2015

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is urging young people to educate their families and friends on how to be flood-prepared this winter.

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Flood Advisors from SEPA have attended a number of events throughout Scotland this year and helped over 4000 children learn about potential flood hazards. 

Safe Taysiders, organised by the Perth and Kinross Community Safety Partnership, was one of the most sizable events.  The event, which aims to increase awareness of how young people can stay safe in a number of dangerous situations, saw nearly 1,500 primary seven pupils taking part in SEPA’s flooding workshop over a two-week period.

Pupils completed a hazard perception activity to see if they could identify potential flooding risks, and were given the opportunity to put what they had learned into practice using SEPA’s flood activity mat.

All participants in SEPA's flooding activity workshop at the Safe Taysiders event were invited to complete our online survey (to help improve the workshop for future years) and be entered into a prize draw. The winner of the first prize, Moncreiffe Primary School, received an iPad and second prize winners, Robert Douglas Memorial School, won a digital camera.

Cordelia Menmuir, Flood Advisor at the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) said:

Flooding affects us all but often young people don't initially think it is something that is relevant to them. It’s important that children are able to appreciate the dangers associated with flooding as it can happen in areas where they play or ‘hang out’ with their friends.

"We’re really impressed with just how quickly the children were able to identify and relate to flood hazards in our workshop. We hope that they will take what they have learned and use this knowledge to help spread the word to their friends and families on how to be flood-prepared this winter.”

A host of information to help young people learn about how to be prepared for flooding, including a video on how to make a flood kit and fun games which teach children how to stay safe, is available on SEPA’s Floodline Kids webpage.

Cordelia added:

Everyone can gain crucial time to prepare for flooding by signing up to SEPA’s free Floodline service, and it’s important to remember that it is never too early to take action by making a flood kit and creating your own flood plan so that everyone knows what to do if flooding happens.”

Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Dr Aileen McLeod said:

The impacts of flooding experienced by individuals, communities, businesses and schools can be devastating and long lasting. This is why it is vital that we continue to reduce the risk of any such future events and improve Scotland’s ability to manage and recover from any events which do occur.

“The Scottish Government’s Ready for Winter campaign encourages individuals, communities and businesses to prepare for severe weather by staying informed of weather conditions, taking some simple actions in advance and thinking about those who might be more vulnerable.

“Educating young people on the steps they can take is a great idea and I hope they will take a lot from it. We recognise the important role young people can play raising awareness of flooding at home. We are therefore supporting a dedicated flooding resilience officer at Education Scotland who works directly with schools and local authorities to help pupils gain a better understanding of flood risk. This is the type of initiative that we will build on through the National Resilience Centre when it formally opens next year.”

Michelle Whittle, Primary 7 teacher from Robert Douglas Memorial Primary School, said:

My class and I were introduced to SEPA at a ‘Safe Taysiders’ event in 2015. At the beginning of the session the children had a limited understanding of flooding; that it only happened in rural areas, near a river, and after heavy rainfall. In the short time we spent with SEPA, the children’s understanding completely changed and by the end of the session they had a greater understanding of the causes of flooding in rural and built up areas.

“In addition to this they were given advice on what people shoulddo in the event of flooding, and made aware of the short and long term support that SEPA provides to communities affected by flooding. Given the fairly recent flooding in the Scone area, this was particularly relevant. SEPA engaged the children from the word ‘go’ and undoubtedly changed their perception of the possibility, and seriousness, of flooding in different communities.”

Through the Floodline service SEPA currently provides advance flood warnings for 269 areas across Scotland. People can sign up to receive free notifications of flood warning messages direct to their choice of mobile or landline numbers at www.sepa.org.uk/floodingsignup or by calling 0345 988 1188 or 0845 988 1188.

For more information on how to be ready for winter visit: www.readyscotland.org You can also follow @readyscotland on Twitter and visit: www.facebook.com/ReadyScotland.

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