It's been a busy weekend for agencies coping with the effects of severe weather. Gloucestershire County Council mobilised chainsaw teams to clear fallen trees to many parts of the county but, fortunately, there were very few instances of flooding.
Both the Severn and Avon have high flow and are out of their banks in some areas but, according to the Environment Agency, levels should have peaked by mid-morning although this has yet to be confirmed. All rivers in the county remain on 'flood alert' or lower.
As conditions are poor but not critical, the Chief Fire Officer has called a 'Service Exercise' for 3pm this afternoon to practice mobilising, launching and search & rescue in a realistic scenario involving the recovery of stranded casualties from various locations around the Avon/Severn confluence.
Crews from Gloucester, Forest stations, Cotswolds and from the newly established Water Rescue Centre will work with other agencies including Severn Area Rescue Association who also operate out of Tewkesbury Fire Station.
Chief Fire Officer Jon Hall said, "Gloucestershire is very experienced at coping with flood-related crisis but the opportunity to practice in realistic circumstances with the rivers in full flood are few and far between"
"As well as boats and hovercraft, we'll be taking the opportunity to rehearse techniques which are employed when conditions do not permit wading or the launching of boats"
Further details will be announced later this morning but an exercise brief will be held at 14:30 at the Gloucestershire Water Rescue Centre, Oldbury Road, Tewkesbury.
Chief Fire Officer
30th April 2012