Comrie community councillors got a special update on a flooding masterplan from one of the area’s fire chiefs.
Rab Middlemiss, group manager at Tayside Fire and Rescue Service, attended a meeting last week and gave feedback on an action plan being drawn up in the wake of the floods which devastated the village last year.
The plan involves agencies like the police, fire service, Perth and Kinross Council and SEPA. It has been developed to address lessons learned from the flooding and to establish a comprehensive response to such incidents.
In a summary of the 14-page report, Mr Middlemiss noted that SEPA had recognised the need to better predict and advise on the risk of flooding and said a public warning system has been put in place, triggered by rising river levels.
He said flood sacks, signage and cones are available at the local fire station and that arrangements for access to them are being firmed up.
Other areas identified in the plan include the need to share information and Mr Middlemoss said officials are looking into how social media can be used.
Community councillor Judy McDowell suggested a siren could alert villagers to future floods, and pointed out that not everybody has a mobile phone to hand.
Mr Middlemiss said: “There is a bit of debate about that because we need to balance the need for early notification with the anxiety which can be caused by being on a constant state of alert.”
Community councillor David Adams pointed out that some Comrie residents have been unsubscribing from SEPA’s new mobile phone warning system because of the number of false alarms and the anxiety that causes.
He said: “When you see a flood alert you panic and SEPA really need to get it down to a fine art and only warn people when it’s really necessary.”
Mr Adams added: “We just have to hope the flood defences will do their job, but if water is coming, people haven’t got time to sit around and a siren would warn people instantly.”
Mr Middlemiss suggested asking a representative from SEPA to attend a community council meeting to give feedback on its flood warning system and locals agreed this would be useful.
Mr Adams added he is sending a letter to Perth and Kinross Council chiefs on behalf of the community council regarding their duty to maintain and monitor the River Earn.
He wants the council to do more than just provide sandbags. The letter is to be discussed and approved by fellow community councillors.