WITH Menstrie Burn coming into a few inches of bursting its banks, a group of volunteers launched a carefully-orchestrated action plan to protect their community.

Menstrie Community Resilience Group (MCRG) was on alert last week as flash floods took hold in the Forth Valley area.

Levels of water in the local burn, coming down from the Ochils, quickly rose by around a metre in just 15 minutes to around 1.2m on Monday, June 24.

The amount of water was 10cm below the line where flooding is expected with the group receiving an alert from the RiverTrack monitoring network.

James Bull, lead co-ordinator at MCRG which works in partnership with various organisations and operates under the community council, told the Advertiser: "There was a huge spike [in the levels of water].

"It was about 20cm and has been for the summer; within 15 minutes it rose to 1.2m."

While Menstrie was not particularly hard-hit directly, the Ochils saw thunderstorms just shortly before.

James continued: "The hills behind us act like a big funnel so if the storm is in the middle of those hills all that water, if the ground isn't damp, just basically bounces off and rushes through Menstrie Burn."

The group – supported by the Scottish Flood Forum, Clackmannanshire Council, Sepa, Ochil View, RiverTrack and The Conservation Volunteers – had been developing an action plan for the past year and knew what to do.

James added: "We know from historical data that flooding would occur at 1.3m, we were at 1.2m so we were very close.

"In normal operation it would slowly rise so we could take preventative action, put a message out on social media.

"We didn't have that joy, it was a case of hitting the ground running."

Protective equipment was quickly brought out from "flood pods" in the town and volunteers put these around the properties of elderly and vulnerable people who needed support.

The local care home was also informed and received a helping hand and some additional members of the community joined the volunteers in their efforts.

James, who wanted to thank all the community as well as volunteers and official partners, continued: "Luckily for us, this time the levels started dropping relatively quickly."

It was their first real call-out and the group will soon do a debrief and build on their experiences to improve community resilience further.

Paul Laidlaw, community resilience manager at the Scottish Flood Forum charity had worked with the local group, as well as with one in Tillicoultry, to help create local action plans.

He was happy to see MCRG informing and assisting locals and working with partners.

And said: "This all goes towards how they plan, prepare, respond and recover from emergencies as a resilient community who know themselves and know what to do in the event of increasing flood risk.

"When people ask what the value and benefits of a resilient community are, then they need look no further than MCRG."