A warning about the possibility of severe flooding in Radlett in the near future was issued this week at a time when the county council is considering closing its fire station.

The Environment Agency (EA) has produced a map showing the areas most at risk in the event of such an emergency, suggesting a main road into the village could be cut off.

Firefighters argue that, if severe flooding strikes, fire services from outside areas might not be able to get to parts of Radlett if they are not already busy elsewhere.

A spokeswoman for the Environment Agency said: "It could happen next year, it could happen tomorrow. We are trying to get people to understand that there is a risk. Be aware and be prepared. Flooding is possible."

Radlett last suffered heavy flooding in 1992, when around 50 properties were affected.

The agency has been working to reduce the damage that a flood could inflict upon Radlett.

The spokeswoman added: "We constructed a flood storage area just upstream of Radlett to alleviate the town. The scheme provides protection from a flood event of a magnitude that we would expect to happen once every 75 years although, like throwing a dice, it could happen more than once in any given period."

The £4 million flood alleviation scheme, which was completed in 2003, reduces the risk of flooding to commercial properties and almost 50 residential properties in the area. However, the flood water storage areas would not prevent large areas being flooded in severe conditions.

The EA's map shows what could happen in the event of a major flood. Watling Street could be cut off at Kitswell Way, in the north of the village, and properties immediately east of Watling Street, stretching down to the train station, could be at risk.

The spokeswoman said: "The EA manages the risk of flooding. When flooding occurs, people need to be prepared and know what to do and what to expect."

Radlett Firefighter Blake Vivian was called to County Councillor Martin Saunders' house in Watford Road in 2002 after a reported flooding. Mr Vivian said: "When we pumped out Martin Saunders' house, it really showed how destructive flooding can be. The water level was between my knees and my waist.

"If a lot of houses flooded at once, there would be major problems, especially if there was no fire service in the village."

For more information about the risk, contact Floodline on 0845 988 1188.