Fire services vital role in floods continue

Fire and Rescue services from across the country are continuing to work together to assist with flooding in the North of England.

This is part of the UK National Resilience assets deployment, organised by CFOA.

Firefighters are carrying out vital and dangerous work with communities, in very difficult circumstances. Credit must go to all agencies working together, along with communities who have suffered during the floods.

In addition, the government must recognise support and funding for national resilience must not be understated, to ensure fire and rescue services can respond quickly and effectively to such situations.

Flood rescue assets and pumping assets are being provided to the affected FRS as requested.
The selection, mobilisation and strategic cover is being planned and maintained between the Chief Fire and Rescue Advisor (CFRA), National Strategic Advisory Team (NSAT) and National Resilient Assurance Team (NRAT) officers.

The total number of assets currently deployed to flood related incidents include :
• 11 High Volume Pumps (HVP)
• 9 HVP double hose boxes
• 4 HVP Tactical Advisers
• 21 Flood Rescue boats
• 4 Flood Rescue Tactical Advisers
• 2 X Enhanced Logistics Support (ELS) vehicles

In addition, there are a number of Strategic Holding areas in place.

The work includes regular updates of affected areas to ensure assets can be deployed most effectively, which are being constantly updated as the situation changes.


Fire services continue to carry out vital work in Cumbria

UK Firefighters are continuing to assist in Cumbria after the area flooded for the third time in less than a month.

The Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) would like to highlight and praise the work of all the firefighters involved, who are carrying out complex and dangerous work in Cumbria.

Huge credit must go to all services which have been working around the clock to support communities across Cumbria and in Lancaster. The floods have devastated people’s lives, and it happening for the third time has made the situation worse.

Communities in the area have once again been affected by flood water, following high winds and torrential rain. Yellow weather warnings for heavy rain and high winds have been issued for Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

The fire service has played a pivotal and vital role during the recent floods. This has included rescuing people, trained firefighters on powered rescue boats, wading teams, tactical advisers, standard fire pumps and additional resources.

One crew rescued a woman who was trapped in her car, which was filling with water. They managed to smash the back window and pull her to safety.

For more information on the flooding and the latest news, please visit The guardian which has run an in-depth article on the situation.

This is part of a national response, coordinated by CFOA national resilience arrangements. This means teams can be quickly mobilised nationally to assist with equipment, rescue teams and expertise.

This response will continue for as long as firefighters are required in the area. Crews can be mobilised quickly if further flooding occurs.

Iti s important the public  has confidence that the emergency services can and will respond quickly when needed.

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

The government needs to ensures national resilience assets are not understated, so this level of response can be coordinated as and when required.


Nepal deployment: conference hears about UKISAR’s role

The recent Nepal earthquake saw a number of UK fire and rescue staff deployed to assist in the search and rescue efforts.

Dave Ramscar gave an overview of the work and the outcomes of the deployment. he also told the conference that there has been more than150 aftershocks since the initial earthquake in April.

UKISAR works with DFID and other government departments  to assist with international search and rescue work. It is made up of a number of services across the country and provides a self sufficient heavy response service, which means the team is not a burden on the host country. 
More than 2.8 million people were displaced and is the largest natural disaster ever recorded in Nepal. There were four teams sent as part of the rescue effort, along with four dogs. UKISAR formed part of the United Nations plan. 

Over the following days, landing permits were being negotiated at Kathmandu airport to allow more UKISAR team members into the country to assist with the work. 

They set up at the British Embassy, which included pitching a number of tents there! He talked delegates through how the search is set up in different sectors, while also doing structural assessments of buildings to assess them and to see if they can be made safe. This included a hospital which was reopened a short time later to assist in the recovery, which meant surgical wards and hundreds of beds were made available. 

Road conditions, land slips and aftershocks meant getting out to more remote areas was slower than the team would have liked, but once there the first aid given provided invaluable to people who had sustained injuries in the earthquake. 

Helicopters were also used to reach more remote areas which meant more help for injured people who may have been missed in the week since the earthquake happened. 

Once the rescue phase closed down, the teams then prepared to exit the country and awaited government clearance to return to the UK.

Following their return, observations and evaluation took place, including difficulties landing in Kathmandu, the ‘tourism tax’ the team were asked to pay when they arrived and ensuring all rescue teams were aware of which areas had been searched. 

It was a fascinating overview of the work which took place and highlighted the difficulties the team faced, along with the hugely positive outcomes due to UKISAR’s work. 

Latest Nepal update

Subject: NEPAL RELEASE UPDATE04/05/2015


Just over a week on from the earthquake that hitNepal near the capital city of Kathmandu, 39 out of 75 districts have been affected and at least 46 aftershocks have been felt.



The UK International Search and Rescue (UKISAR) team deployed by the Department for International Development (DFID) has been playing a key role in the relief effort:


A 4 year old female child with a serious leg injury was evacuated to a field hospital for ongoing treatment and in another case a young boy’s broken arm was treated using a plastic bottle as a splint.


The remnants of an overhanging brick built column have now been successfully removed from the teaching hospital and a temporary measure to improve the stability of the water tank put in place.


Other work at the hospital is nearly complete which will allow 10 operating theatres and up to 400 beds to be put back into use within the next 24 hours and over the next two to three weeks another 400 beds will come online as minor repairs are completed by the hospital.


15 team members were airlifted by helicopters back into Sindupalchok and have completed needs assessments.


A team of 20 personnel have been travelling out to remote areas to make further assessments today.


The helicopters have allowed access to remote villages allowing vital work to continue.


Some of the seriously injured casualties had been evacuated by the Nepalese Army but many more injured residents remained these were triaged and provided with appropriate first aid treatment by UK ISAR medical teams.


The team operating in the Sindupalchok area have found the road blocked to vehicle traffic in several locations but this was cleared by heavy plant throughout the day.


A hydro power plant incapacitated due to the earth quake has been identified and a request has been sent for engineers to conduct repair work which would then provide power toChautara Valley.

The entire UKISAR deployment is being coordinated by an Incident Command Room which is being facilitated by West Midlands Fire Service.


Photos of four-year-old victim recovering available here, credit DFID/Russell Watkins:

Area Commander Paul Burnham issues an update from Nepal.



UK Fire & Rescue services joining teams in Nepal

Firefighters from across the UK have now landed in Delhi from where they will travel to Nepal, in a bid to help the search and rescue work currently taking place.

The International Search and Rescue team (UKISAR), is made up of staff from 15 UK fire and rescue services and is part of the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) National Resilience programme (CNR).

67 firefighters and medics will now be taking part in the search and rescue bid, following the earthquake in Nepal, which has seen more than 3,000 people lose their lives, while thousands of others are injured or missing.

The team will be able to provide specialised, technical search and rescue assistance in collapsed structures. This will include locating and rescuing people deeply entrapped, canine support, medical teams, engineering, assessing the damage and stabilising scenes.

Roy Wilsher, CFOA Director of Operations, said: “Our team is well on its way to Nepal and they will be using their specialist equipment, skills and knowledge in a bid to help locate and rescue people affected in Nepal.

“The earthquake has devastated Nepal and we want to ensure we are doing everything we can to help. The team which has gone out are all highly trained professionals who will be offering as much assistance in the rescue endeavour on the ground as they possibly can.”

Previously UKISAR has assisted internationally with earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes and the Japanese Tsunami. The team responds to overseas disasters at the request of the government and is one of 27 United Nations search and rescue teams from across the world.