Exclusive: Exercise Neptune tests European-wide response to flooding
Rescue services from across the UK and Europe have taken part in a flooding rescue exercise organised by Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service.
The scenario saw a fictional EU country which had seen heavy rain, hit by the tail end of a hurricane, resulting in widespread flooding.
Local emergency services had become overwhelmed with the scale of the flooding and called for help.
Six rescue boats, supplied by Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service (MF&RS), were involved along with 24 rescuers and 11 in the management team from Gloucestershire, Northumberland, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic. Some of the management team were also from MF&RS.
The training test, called Exercise Neptune, was a final evaluation for a two year EU pilot project 'Watersave' on establishing a flooding rescue unit that could be called on by any country which had experienced wide scale flooding.
The Netherlands, The Czech Republic and fire services in the UK, including MF&RS, have worked together on the project, which had EU funding.
MF&RS co-ordinated and ran the exercise at four sites in and around Anglesey and Llanberis in North Wales on Wednesday.
A Sea King Helicopter from RAF Valley was also involved in the exercise, collecting two boats from rescuers.
Dan Stephens, Chief Fire Officer for Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, who was also at the exercise, said: "This was a fast-changing scenario with various challenges. It has been a great example of how this kind of unit can really help when widespread flooding takes place.
"This is the only project of its kind looking at establishing a permanent flooding rescue unit that could be called on by affected countries anywhere in the world. MF&RS has highly trained rescuers who specialise in water rescue."
There was one team of four rescuers from Gloucestershire and one team of four rescuers from Northumberland.
The exercise was the fourth held in the UK for the project in the last 18 months.
Representatives from EU member states will now consider the results of the pilot project.
Photo by MF&RS
Posted December 6th, 2011 at 1410 by Andrew. Comment by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
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