Owners urged to ‘act early’ after flood warnings: emergency rescue teams on standby

Owners have been urged to “act early” in response to more than 200 government flood alerts and warnings across the country.

The RSPCA said it has emergency water rescue teams on standby after the government issued five severe flood warnings for Doncaster and South Yorkshire, being affected by the River Don. England has 111 flood warnings and 113 flood alerts in place, while Natural Resources Wales issued five flood alerts.

RSPCA inspector and national water rescue coordinator Jason Finch said: “Due to the expected heavy rain over the next couple of days falling on already saturated ground we have put the water rescue team on standby until Monday (11 November).

“Our control centre will inform our water rescue coordinators in the regions of any flood-related incidents so they can monitor and respond where necessary.

“We’re on high alert in areas such as South and West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and Derbyshire where significant surface water flooding has been described as ‘probable’. We’ve been advised that there are also flooding risks in parts of the north, north Midlands, Lincolnshire, East Anglia, and Wales.”

A spokesman for the RSPCA said the charity, which has a team of around 60 officers trained to work in fast and contaminated water, responded to eight reports of flooding on Thursday (8 November).

“The charity advises all owners to ensure their pets and livestock stay safe in harsh weather conditions, including periods of wet weather which can lead to flooding,” said the spokesman.

Mr Finch added that owners should have a plan to get animals out of danger if the “worst was to happen” and they find themselves caught in flooding.

“Floodwater can rise very quickly so if there is a warning in your area, act early and put your flood plan into action,” he said.

“Don’t put your own life or another’s life in danger to attempt an animal rescue and call us for help in an emergency.”

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The RSPCA issued the following tips for owners:

● Plan your escape route and keep contact details of people who can help you move your animals in an emergency;
● Ensure you can be contacted in an emergency – attach contact details to gates so you can be contacted;
● Move horses to high ground and ensure you have sufficient emergency feed and water supplies;

Anyone with concerns about horses affected by flooding is urged to contact the RSPCA emergency 24-hour hotline on 0300 1234 999.

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