Wales’ emergency services test flooding resilience

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service (SWFRS) hosted over 15 organisations, with 250 personnel, from the emergency services and voluntary agencies as part of Exercise Polygon on 12 7 13 April – a resilience test of emergency response should South Wales be hit by severe flooding similar to Cumbria or Somerset.

Locations in Newport, Cardiff and Bridgend were used to create challenging scenarios for the crews involved from the three Welsh FRSs, RNLI, RSPCA Cymru, South Wales and Gwent Police, Maritime & Coastguard Agency, Rapid Relief Team, Cardiff International White Water and other voluntary agencies such as Severn Area Rescue Association (SARA), Civil Aid Voluntary Rescue Association (CAVRA) and the Mountain Rescue Group.

Scenarios included using the International  White Water Centre in Cardiff Bay to replicate a car submerged  in water with casualties trapped inside and people clinging to a fence in fast flowing water.

SWFRS worked with the RSPCA in a horse and rider rescue. The rider was in fact a 30 kilo dummy trapped under a 300 kilo model horse in mud with a rising tide threatening them. Both ‘horse and rider’ were successfully rescued

horse and rider on mud back (c) RSPCA Cymru
Dummy horse and rider are rescued from the mud and incoming tide. Image courtesy of SWFRS

Group Manager Andy Davison from South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, and Exercise Director said, “It has been a pleasure to welcome my colleagues from across Wales, whether blue lights or voluntary agency, for Exercise Polygon over the last two days. This was one of the biggest exercise in Wales this year and is about ensuring that as a Service and beyond that we are able to effectively deal with flooding incidents, keeping our communities safe and hopefully reducing damage where possible.

“While it is unlikely that South Wales will suffer severe flooding in the immediate future, with the onset of global warming we are seeing an increase of 1 in a 100 year flooding events all around the UK. Exercise Polygon ensures that we are able to mobilise and effectively deal with any flooding incidents that do occur. We also work closely with the Met Office and their teams to monitor the weather systems to ensure that we can alert our communities to any potential flooding in their area.”

Exercise Polygon was established through the All Wales Inland Water Rescue Group, which has members represented from the 15 organisations involved with the Exercise. The hashtag #exploygon was used during the event so take a look at the images and tweets by searching for the hashtag on twitter.

For more information on how to stay safe in and around water, visit or Look out for CFOA’s upcoming Drowning Prevention campaign from 25 April – 1 May and look out for the hashtag #BeWaterAware.

Information provided by South Wales Fire and Rescue Service.


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