NFCC discusses Derbyshire flood response

NFCC discusses Derbyshire flood response

THE NATIONAL Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) has explained the response from the NFCC and local fire and rescue services (FRSs) to the major incident in Whaley Bridge.

In a release, the NFCC stated that firefighters in Derbyshire are deploying high volume pumps (HVPs) at the ‘major incident’ in the Whaley Bridge area, following ‘significant rainfall’ resulting in the nearby Toddbrook reservoir overflowing and threatening the town with flooding. Around 10 HVPs and firefighters from across the country have been deployed to assist, as part of the NFCC’s National Resilience (NR) response.

Additionally, some specialised NFCC staff including tactical advisers are present, with more assets able to be deployed ‘as the situation unfolds’. The incident is expected to last around two or three days, with water levels in the River Goyt potentially rising ‘rapidly’ due to the reservoir flooding. The reservoir contains 1.3m tonnes of water, with the dam holding it back containing 300m gallons, and there are concerns the reservoir walls could collapse, with one wall ‘showing extensive damage’.

Around 6,000 people are currently being evacuated from the area, after the Environment Agency (EA) issued a ‘danger to life’ warning, and the HVPs present are pumping water from the reservoir to other locations ‘to reduce the pressure on the reservoir and the river’ as well as helping ‘reduce the impact on the local community’. Each HVP can shift up to 7,000 litres of water per minute, with the response part of FRS coordination to large scale incidents.

The response can include deploying fire appliances, specialised teams, HVPs, enhanced logistics support teams, wading teams, swift water rescue teams, powered rescue boats, tactical advisers and standard fire pumps, all coordinated by the NR arrangements. This allows teams to be ‘quickly mobilised’ to assist with deploying ‘the most effective equipment, rescue teams and expertise’, and NR ‘will work closely’ with the EA and Met Office to ‘monitor and evaluate’ the changing conditions.

Roy Wilsher, NFCC chair, commented: ‘Fire and rescue services from across the country mobilise quickly to situations such as this and play a key role in leading the response. Our ability to mobilise our assets in this way is an essential part of our national resilience response. A coordinated and joined-up approach is essential to ensure we can help keep the public safe - with the right equipment and people in place - while working closely with others to ensure a world-class response is put in place.

‘Once again this demonstrates why we must be resourced to risk as well as to demand, in recent months the UK fire and rescue service has put national resilience response in place for widespread flooding and large wildfires.’