Community funded flood siren to be tested for first time

Flooding in Sowerby Bridge December 2015. Picture by Ian Morgan
Flooding in Sowerby Bridge December 2015. Picture by Ian Morgan

Sowerby Bridge’s new community-funded flood warning siren will be tested for the first time today.

The siren will be operated solely by church wardens based on information from the Environment Agency, which monitors river levels around the clock.

It has been funded by the Community Foundation for Calderdale and led by Sowerby Bridge Flood Group and Christ Church, which is where the siren is positioned.

Sowerby Bridge flood warden, Mike Payne, said: “We hope that as well as testing our new siren we’re also able to raise awareness of flood risk in this area.

“It’s important that we have ways to warn residents that flooding is expected, but it’s just as important that people are aware of what they should do when they get a warning.”

The test at 5pm today (Thursday) will last for two minutes.

Residents and businesses in the town do not need to take any action when hearing the siren at this time.

Staff from the Environment Agency and Calderdale Council are supporting the test and will be on hand to help measure the siren’s audibility and give locals information on preparing for flooding.

The siren will be used as an additional measure to warn the local community if flooding is expected, alongside the Environment Agency’s free flood warning service that residents at risk, or affected by flooding, should sign up to receive.

The Leader of Calderdale Council, Councillor Tim Swift, said: “It’s vital that we test the new flood siren to make sure it’s audible and ensure residents know what it sounds like so they can recognise it in an emergency situation.

“It’s so important to be prepared for flooding and staff from the Council and the Environment Agency will be out and about in Sowerby Bridge, supporting the Flood Group, on the day to answer any questions people may have and give advice. There’s also lots of information available on the Eye on Calderdale website.”