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Monday, January 4, 2016

Police pioneer flood evecuation system

A new software solution to help identify occupied or evacuated properties devised by North Wales Police came in to play during last week’s severe weather.
Exodus was readied for use in both St Asaph and the Dee Valley when properties were at risk of flooding. 

Fortunately in these events the water receded before it was actually activated, but the system has previously prompted interest from other multi-agency partners across the UK and as far afield as America.
ExodusPC David Abernethy-Clark of North Wales Police (pictured), who devised the system, said: “In an emergency situation every minute counts.

Exodus enables us to coordinate resources much more quickly and efficiently for those areas at risk of flooding so that we can prioritise our evacuation efforts and save lives.

“Once we have the at risk area defined the system calculates how many emergency responders are needed or how long it would take to visit each and every property within it, should the number of emergency responders be fixed.  It means that we can very quickly assess the need to scale up or down the response depending on the amount of time we have before the flood is likely to happen.”

All properties in an affected area are allocated a ‘homeowner pack’ containing posters for displaying externally – one to say that the occupants remain in residence, another to say that they have evacuated, plus an information sheet to be handed to any police officer with information of how they can be contacted.

PC Abernethy-Clark said: “The packs also contain a third poster which indicates that the property needs further investigation, this would be used when we’ve knocked on the door and no one answers.”

This colour coded scheme means that as an area becomes flooded any emergency responders returning by boat, can see at a glance the status of each property.  They will then target those properties that are occupied or in need of further investigation, to make sure that people are safe, offer them the chance to evacuate and if need be to rescue them.

“We have already had interest in the system from other multi-agency partners, UK police forces and from Universities in America and Canada. It’s a system which could be used anywhere and I’m sure that following the events this week in parts of England and Scotland we may get more interest,” said PC Abernethy-Clark.

The system will not just be used during floods, it could be used whenever there is a need to evacuate property.

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