HAMPSHIRE Fire and Rescue Service is encouraging employers to advise and support their staff to prevent them taking unnecessary risks on their journeys to and from work after 21 people were rescued during yesterday’s adverse weather.

Hampshire was badly affected by heavy rain yesterday which caused many roads across the county to flood.

The Service is now urging the public to consider the need for their journey and the route they might take to avoid flooded areas, as well as encourage employers to advise and support their staff to consider which business journeys are necessary and how they can avoid getting into difficulties. When asked for an overview on yesterday’s activity, GM Dan Tasker said: “The majority of people I spoke to felt they had to drive through flooded water to get to work. The public need to think seriously about each journey they take and assess the safest way to get to their destination, and if they’re in any doubts about the depth of water then they should not attempt to drive through it but find a safer route.

“We rescued and assisted 21 people from flood-stranded vehicles yesterday, and each driver was deliberately driving through flooded water based on what they thought was a ‘calculated’ risk’. “Whilst routes and roads may have seemed familiar the circumstances of the flooding were unusual and unfamiliar. Such actions risk putting their life and the life's of others at risk.”

HFRS would like to remind people that it was only April this year when Judge Gammon died after his car was submerged in 5ft of fast flowing water in Hampshire, when driving through a ford. HFRS put increased resources in place across flood-prone areas including Wallington, New Forest and Rushmoor early yesterday morning and The Environment Agency is today urging people to prepare for flooding and stay safe whilst travelling over the weekend.

There are currently 68 flood warnings and 244 flood alerts in force across England and Wales, and whilst the Met Office is forecasting a respite in the heavy rainfall today, many rivers across the country have continued to rise in response to yesterday’s rainfall.

Further heavy rain is forecast from the early hours of Saturday morning into Sunday, with successive bands of rain expected to bring a risk of flooding to large areas across the country.

Flood water can be dangerous. Just two feet of water is enough to float a car and six inches of fast flowing water can knock you off your feet. Flood water also contains hidden dangers such as open manhole covers and raw sewage.