Hundreds of caravan site residents were swiftly evacuated from Sutton on Sea last week, but thankfully there was no disaster as it was just a drill.
Exercise Towbar, on Wednesday April 17, was a large-scale collaboration between local councils, emergency services and the Environment Agency, which saw residents ‘evacuated’ from Sutton Springs and Seacroft caravan sites and taken to the safety of Theddlethorpe Village Hall.
The aim was to find out just how robust flood responses are on our coastline.
Steve Johnson, site supervisor at Seacroft Holiday Park, home to 220 caravans, said he had been reassured by the events of Exercise Caravan.
“There’s a huge plan in place already and things like the telemetery systems out at sea make you feel much better.
“My fear was always that I would wake up with three feet of water around my house but now they know very early when something might happen.
“The aftermath of the insurance would be more of a concern now, on a personal level living nearby I feel a lot safer about flooding.
“We have flood kits here at the site and a plan in place, we just have to carry this forward.”
This year is the 60th anniversary of the East Coast Floods, where 42 people in our area died.
Among those housed at Theddlethorpe Village Hall last week were Lincolnshire Police, WRVS and the British Red Cross, who attended to the stricken evacuees and arranged for them to be ‘taken’ inland to a safe place.
Stewart Christie from the Red Cross said: “Exercise Towbar has been an authentic experience – the evacuees have come along in good faith and have tested out our system.
“It’s been a great experience – really worthwhile.”
Hayley Harrison, emergency planning officer at Lincolnshire County Council, said the high proportion of caravan sites on the Lincolnshire coast means it is vitally important that people know what to do if disaster hits.
“It’s been a really realistic experience – great to practice evacuation plans and learn how to improve in the future.”