New flood rescue unit based in Tewkesbury
FLOOD rescue operations across the county will benefit from a new, top-of-the-range water rescue unit stationed in Tewkesbury.
Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service (GFRS) has unveiled the new unit at the award-winning Gloucestershire Water Rescue Centre.
The all-wheel-drive vehicle replaces a previous smaller vehicle and is designed to tow the county’s rescue boats and carry equipment used in responding to water rescue incidents.
This includes a mud rescue platform, rescue sled and drysuits, plus changing and decontamination facilities and a side awning for shelter in bad weather.
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After the Gloucestershire floods in 2007, one of the main objectives of the service’s Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP) was to improve further the county’s water rescue response – something the new vehicle tackles.
Deputy Chief Fire Officer Geoff Sallis said: “The 2007 floods were a great learning experience for the service and we’ve used these lessons to ensure we are even better prepared to handle water rescues should we be called upon.
“A key element of this response is making sure we have the right equipment for the job; the rescue crews at Tewkesbury played a major role in the design and functionality of the vehicle. The result is a state-of-the-art vehicle, which will improve our response capability at water rescue incidents.”
The unit will also help other rescue teams in the county.
Tom Keeling, Tewkesbury station commander for the Severn Area Rescue Association, said: “There is always a risk of flooding and, although last year it was not as bad as the floods of 2007, it came close.
“Having a purpose- equipped unit that we can take to flooding incidents will help us prepare our rescue operations more.
“For us, it shows that Gloucestershire County Council and Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue are taking their responsibility for rescue very seriously.”
Councillor Will Windsor-Clive, cabinet member for fire, planning and infrastructure, added: “I’m delighted that this new vehicle has been introduced to our rescue fleet. With the expertise we already have in our water rescue teams, this unit is a great addition to our already excellent fire service, making it more responsive and efficient.”