Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service now has a water rescue team at Moreton Fire Station allowing them to meet local, regional and national water response requirements.
The improvement to GFRS water response is highlighted in the Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP) and with funding of over £56,000 from DEFRA, the new water rescue team is now up and running.
One of the key objectives of the IRMP is to improve water rescue response, allowing the fire and rescue service to attend incidents anywhere in the county within a 30 minute response time and provide enough resilience of assets for a national deployment to major flooding in the UK.
The introduction of the water rescue team in the North Cotswolds at Moreton Fire Station completes the provision of strategically-placed water rescue teams in Gloucestershire.
Deputy Chief Fire Officer Geoff Sallis said: "Since the floods in 2007, we have significantly increased the number of swift water rescue technicians located around the county. Our rescue hovercraft also provide a capability on flooded areas and mudflats on the River Severn, and in late 2011 we launched the Tewkesbury Water Rescue Centre, which combines the rescue resources of SARA and GFRS. Now we have the water rescue team at Moreton Fire Station, this completes our provision of strategically placed water rescue teams in Gloucestershire. "
Fire fighters have completed specialist swift water and mud rescue training and they now have technical rescue equipment designed to perform rescues from water, including a four by four vehicle, drysuits, floatation jackets, mud rescue platforms, floating lines and hose inflation equipment.
The water response team is also trained to support the large animal rescue team and to work alongside the rescue boats and hovercraft.
Councillor Will Windsor-Clive, cabinet member for communities, said: "I am pleased that the new water rescue team is now up and running and that the firefighters have had the necessary training to respond to any water rescue in the county. The whole point of the IRMP was that we needed to make some operational changes to our already excellent fire service, making it more responsive and efficient."
Notes to news editors
The Fire Service's Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP) 2012-2015 was approved at a full county council meeting in February following consultation with local residents.
Issued by: Laura Biddington, Gloucestershire County Council's Media Team, 01452 425226,firstname.lastname@example.org
1st August 2012