Proposed Developments in Flood Zones

Generic advice from Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service for developers and local authorities

When a developer proposes development in flood zones 2 and 3 (as determined by the local Strategic Flood Risk Assessment) and the developer's Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) supports invacuation of occupants in the event of flooding, the FRA needs to suitably detail the provision of a flood emergency kit for however long occupants would be expected to remain invacuated.

This kit should include information warning of the dangers of using portable heaters and candles etc during potential utility failures.

If access roads to the development may be inundated, the following advice should be considered by planners and developers.

  • Standard modern Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) vehicle design and crew safety considerations has resulted in Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service fire appliances being unable to operate in, or drive through, water any deeper than 20 cm.

  • In any event where working in water is required, the Crew/Incident Commander must carry out a dynamic risk assessment to confirm the situational risk versus benefit before adopting tactics involving working in water.

  • Whilst every effort will always be made by Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service to respond to fires and rescues, due to the nature and scale of tidal flood events, a dynamic risk assessment may determine that FRS resources are unable to respond normally along flooded routes where the depth of flood water at any point is greater than 20 cm. This may prevent or delay emergency  response. Strategic and tactical risk assessments, and resource limitations, may also cause response times to vary significantly from normal operating procedures. These issues may also arise for any other type of significant/wide scale flooding event.

  • One consideration compounding the water safety issues for emergency responders would be the fact that fire hydrants in the area may also be rendered unserviceable due to inundation.

  • It is noted that the issues of potentially flooded access routes may be an existing situation for existing properties in the flood zone areas being developed. Notwithstanding this, any new development proposals should actively consider the provision of a suitable and appropriately installed fire sprinkler system (designed to be resilient and operate in flood conditions) in order to:

  • Significantly enhance occupant safety by mitigating effects of any fire occurring during flood events which may result in occupant invacuation and restrict the normal capabilities of the Fire and Rescue Service response (this would actually have the beneficial effect of enhancing the fire safety of building occupants at all times).

  • Significantly limit fire damage and environmental impact of any fire in the new property. 

  • Reduce additional burden of risk for emergency responders attempting to use best efforts responding to the new property for life critical incidents.



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