Fire and Rescue Services leading the way with response to flooding in Cumbria

Fire and Rescue Services from across the UK have been working to help people affected by Storm Desmond, with a focus on the current situation Cumbria.

Fire appliances, equipment and teams have been working tirelessly since last week. Equipment and assets deployed includes high volume pumps, wading teams, swift water rescue trained firefighters on powered rescue boats, tactical advisers and standard fire pumps.

The work is part of a national response, coordinated by the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) national resilience arrangements. This means teams can be quickly mobilised nationally to assist with equipment, rescue teams and expertise.

To date, a number of national resilience assets have been mobilised and are currently in use, including:

• High volume  pumps – capable of moving 7,000 litres of water per minute
• Powered boats crewed by swift water rescue trained firefighters
• Wading teams
• Tactical advisers
• Logistics support
The National Resilience Assurance Team (NRAT), supported by lead CFOA officers, is coordinating the national response and providing support to the government.

There are also strategic holding areas being operated at Penrith fire station on behalf of Cumbria FRS; and Lancashire FRS is running one at a service station on the M6 for the Lancaster flood.

In addition to assets being deployed, there are a number of further capabilities which have been identified by CFOA which can be available to assist.

Dan Stephens, CFOA National Resilience Strategic Lead, said: “All of the emergency services have been working together to assist people who have been affected by the flooding in Cumbria and surrounding areas. Huge credit must go to all services which have been working around the clock to support communities across Cumbria and in Lancaster.

“Being able to mobilise our national assets quickly and effectively is an essential part of our national resilience response. The public need to have confidence that the emergency services can and will respond quickly when they need us.

“We have seen a huge amount of calls to the fire and rescue service over the past 24 hours and I am confident that our national response has been managed exceptionally.”

Roy Wilsher, CFOA’s Director of Operation commented: “This has been a very difficult time for people living in and around Cumbria following the unprecedented rain fall and consequent floods.

“However, we have been able to deliver a national response to tackling the floodwater, undertaking rescues and giving logistical and tactical support.

“Incidents such as this highlight how essential an efficient national response is for the UK, and I believe Fire and Rescue Services must play a leading role in delivering this.

“In addition, it is essential that the government ensures national resilience assets are not understated, to ensure CFOA can continue to coordinate a national response and continue to offer this level of response as and when required.”

Flood alerts remain in place across the country with another band of bad weather due for this evening (Monday 7th December) which could see more wide spread flooding.

To arrange interviews or for further information, please contact:
Communications Team at CFOA                                      
Tel: 01827 302370         
Email: communications.department@cfoa.org.uk          

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