18 November 2010

Northamptonshire County Council’s fire and rescue service has been successful in a bid for funding which will further enhance their ability to respond to wide area flooding such as that which has recently hit the south-west of the country.

The £100,000 grant will enable the fire and rescue service to purchase specialist equipment and develop the skills of the water rescue crews which can be put into practice during an emergency situation.

The service will purchase new equipment including powered boats, along with other specialist items and two 4x4 vehicles and trailers which will be used to transport the crew and boats to the flooded area.

Brigade Manager Adrian Davis said “The current situation in Cornwall reminds us that flooding is a continual threat that can happen anywhere and the widespread effects should not be underestimated.”

Councillor Andre Gonzalez de Savage, county council cabinet member for customers and communities said: “Our success in securing this additional funding will mean we can continue our work and invest in improving our capability. The specialist equipment and training will enhance our ability to respond and effectively deal with flooding situations in Northamptonshire.”

Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service is one of a number of agencies to benefit from this grant which is part of a £2 million investment from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (defra) to improve flood rescue capability across the UK.

The awarding of the grant marks the launch of preparations for Exercise Watermark, a week-long national flood emergency exercise which takes place in March next year. The exercise stems from recommendations following the 2007 floods which affected many areas of the country. It seeks to ensure government departments and national and local agencies and services are as prepared as they can be for the dangers caused by flooding.