Storm Desmond CumbriaCommunities in Scotland remain on flood alert as heavy rain continues to hammer large parts of the country and other parts of the UK.

The past few weeks have seen Services across the country working together to respond to incidents cause by the fierce storms and torrential downpours which made the last month of 2015 officially the wettest month in the UK since records began.

Across the country the selection, mobilisation and strategic cover was (and is) being planned and maintained between the Chief Fire and Rescue Advisor (CFRA), National Strategic Advisory Team (NSAT) and National Resilient Assurance Team (NRAT) officers. The total number of assets deployed to flood related incidents has included:
• 11 High Volume Pumps (HVP)
• 9 HVP double hose boxes
• 4 HVP Tactical Advisers
• 21 Flood Rescue boats
• 4 Flood Rescue Tactical Advisers
• 2 X Enhanced Logistics Support (ELS) vehicles.

Read Catherine Levin's insight on the FRS response to flooding

Most recently, Scottish crews have been working flat out for over a week to ensure people’s continued safety and that fire and rescue cover is maintained during extraordinary and extremely challenging circumstances.

The national service north of the border has provided enhanced resilience during the winter storm period, with resources from across Scotland available to support one another. One such example saw crews from Dundee support their colleagues in Ballater, Aberdeenshire, which was amongst one of the worst hit areas in terms of flooding.

In total SFRS received 350 flooding related calls from Wednesday 30 December 2015 up until 5 January. Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Chief Officer, Alasdair Hay, said: “Storm Frank has brought misery to many of our communities over the past few days.

“Alongside our communities many agencies and volunteers have worked tirelessly to help and support those affected. I want to pay tribute to all those who have worked so hard to support their communities. However, I want to pay particular tribute to all our SFRS staff right across the country as their efforts have, and continue to be extraordinary.”

'Unprecedented' flooding threatened to cut-off the town of Whitby but North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue responded to several flooding calls in they area with water entering premises and recovering cars and passengers stuck in flood water.

Cheshire, Hereford and Worcestershire and Shropshire firefighters spent more than 48 hours in Lancashire with their high volume pumps and together moved approximately 80 million litres of water in the just two days. The work of our firefighters and firefighters across the country significantly reduced the impact of further breaches on River Douglas should they have occurred.

Elsewhere, firefighters wading waist-deep in freezing water for up to seven hours at a time and an army of local people offering their help were among the most poignant stories to emerge from Manchester’s Boxing Day floods today.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service said it believed crew had rescued up to 1,000 people in less than 24 hours when water levels rose so rapidly yesterday that whole towns were cut off.

After the most extreme incidents resulting from the flooding had subsided Chairman of the Fire Authority Councillor David Acton joined the County Fire Officer Peter O’Reilly and Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd to chat with crew from Rochdale, Littleborough, Eccles and Bury.

Cllr Acton said the Service had been at ‘full stretch’ but that firefighters had responded magnificently after hearing how firefighters in Radcliffe had waded into waist high water in the Riverside Drive and Selby Close areas to rescue pregnant women, children and vulnerable, elderly people in care homes.

PCC Lloyd added: "I want to offer my special thanks to all those in our Fire and Rescue Service who were there to help those in need when that need was at its greatest. The public are rightly grateful to each and everyone for little acts of kindness through to the response needed that made people feel safe and helped them know that things would be alright.

"I know both David Acton, Chair of GMFRS, and Peter O'Reilly, Chief Fire Officer, join me in our gratitude. There are simply too many great stories and too many people to thank individually. So on behalf of the people of Greater Manchester many thanks to you all."

Subscribe to FIRE Magazine for February for a full Flood Focus including the Gold Commander's review of the winter response