Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Flood report identifies gaps in fire and rescue

  • Comment
Fire and rescue services must become more effective in dealing with emergency calls, according to the government's chief fire and rescue adviser.

Sir Ken Knight's findings are published today in a report on the service's operational response to the floods of summer 2007.

Gaps identified around resources, protective equipment, training personnel and rescue craft is an issue which the Local Government Association (LGA) said it will examine in detail.

"The fire service will perform well any task it undertakes," said Les Byrom, chair of the LGA's fire services management committee. "Against the backdrop of tight finances, the service cannot absorb any further duties without additional government support."

In his review, Sir Ken praises the "magnificent" response by the FRS's firefighters and makes 28 recommendations covering coordinating responses, sharing of information co-ordination, resources, training and health issues.

Improvements can be made and lessons learned, said Sir Ken: "One of the critical issues was the difficulties dealing with the high number of calls from the public, especially during periods of peak demand."

Operational response was hampered by outdated, disparate and overloaded equipment in the 46 individual control rooms. During floods, firefighters often worked in hazardous conditions, raising health and safety questions around the statutory responsibility for flood rescue, Sir Ken found.

Floods recovery minister John Healey said: "In Gloucestershire, Yorkshire and Humberside, I saw for myself the value of new equipment that helped to quickly pump flood waters away from homes, schools, power supplies, water treatment works and other utilities. However, there are lessons to be learned."

Jerry Wilmott, LGA fire services management committee member who leads on FiReControl, said: "Response to crises such as the summer floods depend for success upon co-ordination, identify what resources are available and intelligent deployment. The resilience capability of the regional control network as it develops will enable the service to maximise the best use and value of fire service resources nationwide."

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.