Fire service leading response to flooding as union warns over lack of resources

Firefighters have been deployed to areas of the UK at risk of flooding following severe weather that is set to continue over the weekend. Fire and rescue services are deploying boats, tactical advisers, flood rescue teams, high volume pumps and command units to tackle the flooding.

So far, 15 fire and rescue services have mobilised teams into the affected areas including ten rescue boats, seven high volume pumps and nine flood rescue tactical advisors.

The Met Office have issued 192 flood warnings and alerts across the UK and have warned about the potential of a tidal surge on the East Coast.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has warned that lessons are not being learned from previous flooding emergencies.

Last March, the union reported how there was a lack of dry suits for firefighters to use when tackling the floods in December 2015. Many found themselves working in cold water for hours at a time wearing fire kit instead of proper flood rescue waterproof clothing. One firefighter had to work for hours in a padded tunic and jogging bottoms.

Matt Wrack, general secretary of the FBU, said: “Firefighters are the consummate professionals who are leading the emergency response on flooding. They will be working tirelessly to keep the public safe and responding to a huge number of incidents.

“At times like these, it is particularly apparent how important a fully resourced fire and rescue service is. It is yet another reason why the government should be giving the fire and rescue service a statutory duty to respond to flooding as already exists in Scotland and Northern Ireland.”

Fire and rescue services currently deployed include: Surrey, Bedfordshire, London Fire Brigade, Hertfordshire, Northamptonshire, Hereford and Worcester, West Midlands, Nottinghamshire, Oxford, Cumbria, South Wales, Warwickshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and South Yorkshire.

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