UK fire and rescue services are involved in a new pan-European team responsible for responding to severe flooding incidents.

Project Watersave brings together fire and rescue services from the Netherlands, Czech Republic and the UK. According to a statement released by Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, following a series of international training exercises, the specialist team can now be deployed to any country within the EU. From early 2011, it will also be available worldwide.

The project was developed following calls for rapid response rescue capabilities in the EU. A joint proposal was submitted by the three countries involved, and a grant was awarded to establish a joint flood response module. Any country within the EU can now request the two rescue boat teams along with specialists to deal with flooding incidents. These include team leaders and mechanics from the UK, IT specialists from Czech Republic and logistic technicians from the Netherlands.

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service are leading on behalf of the UK throughout the two-year project, and hosted an exercise in the North West earlier this year. The UK response will be drawn from rescue boat teams of a number of fire and rescue services, and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

Station Manager Paul Hitchen said: "This project offers both MFRS and the partner UK organisations with a fantastic opportunity to further develop water rescue and flood response, as well as working with international colleagues to support communities at times of greatest need."


Posted December 20 2010