FLOOD emergency training has started as part of the Teignmouth tidal defence scheme.
The Environment Agency has started giving people vital training so they can use the new defences in emergency situations.
The training will help Teignmouth Town Council members, community volunteers and Teignmouth port staff use the new floodgates on the defence scheme which has been designed to protect the back beach and town centre areas of Teignmouth.
Environment Agency project manager Andrea Summers said: "We have worked closely with the community during the design and construction of the scheme and we are very pleased that the town council, supported by Associated British Ports Teignmouth, has agreed to operate the floodgates on our behalf."
Teignmouth town clerk David Tickell said: "The smooth operation of the gates is essential to the flood defences and this is an excellent example of the Environment Agency and the local community working together to reduce the risk of flooding."
The back beach area of Teignmouth, west of the town centre and close to the mouth of the estuary, is at considerable risk of tidal flooding.
The £4million tidal defence scheme has been funded by Defra with contributions from Teignbridge district and Teignmouth town councils.
The finished scheme will protect more than 600 properties from flood.
Newton Abbot MP Anne Marie Morris said: "These defences will drastically reduce the risk of flooding and give peace of mind to those living in the area."