Cleveland firefighters help to tackle the floods

The Swift Water Rescue Team in action previously during an exercise

The Swift Water Rescue Team in action previously during an exercise

FIREFIGHTERS in Cleveland are giving their support and expertise to the emergency work in the flooded areas of the south of England.

Cleveland Fire Brigade has sent a Swift Water Rescue Team – consisting of six officers from its Thornaby Fire Station – to help Royal Berkshire Fire & Rescue in the early hours of Tuesday morning (18th February).

With them are the Brigade’s Middlesbrough Station Manager Ian Dixon, who is co-ordinating the deployment, and Thornaby Station Manager Alan Brown, who leads the Swift Water Rescue Team.

The Team is trained to the highest level to carry out rescues in swift-flowing water such as rivers and flooding. It has taken with it a number of specially-designed rescue sleds to use if required.

The eight officers will remain in Berkshire ready to help where needed until the afternoon of Friday 21st February when they will return to their regular duties in the Cleveland Fire Brigade area.

Ian Hayton, Chief Fire Officer at Cleveland Fire Brigade, said “We are pleased to be able to support our colleagues in the south-east of England in what really can only be described as a national disaster. Firefighter have volunteered for extra duties as they, like everyone else, can see the dire straits some communities are in.”

“Whilst the fire service does not receive direct funding to attend floods there is definitely a strong public expectation that we would do something and this is the case here, even though it’s happened 300 miles away. Our highly skilled and committed firefighters will be doing everything they possibly can to help the residents and businesses affected by the terrible flooding conditions.”

“I want to reassure local people that, because firefighters are volunteering, we still maintain our ability to attend any incident, be that flooding or other type, that happens on Teesside”