floodCrews and equipment from South Yorkshire and Cheshire have been deployed to the flood hit communities of Berkshire and Herefordshire as the area's Services are becoming stretched by the number and extent of flood-related incidents.

A team of six firefighters from South Yorkshire FRS have taken a fire engine to the county, following an urgent call for assistance from Royal Berkshire Fire & Rescue.

The team from Rotherham and Central stations is based at the village of Cookham Dean on the banks of the river Thames, where a red alert for flooding has lasted for several days. Firefighters initially assisted residents with flood defences, such as the distribution of sandbags before helping to pump out flooded properties.

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Ahead of the deployment, SYFR Area Manager Mick Mason said: “An urgent request was received asking for assistance in the flooded area. We replied immediately, and a crew was deployed on Thursday morning, with further crews available to go at a moment’s notice if needed. The crew will remain there for an initial two days, but looking at the weather forecasts, we expect this to be longer.”

In the first deployment from Cheshire a crew of five firefighters from Congleton, accompanied by Station Manager Stewart Forshaw, htook a high volume pump appliance to Kidderminster where they worked with Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service. 

In a second deployment, Station Manager Mark Coleman and five firefighters from Warrington went to Maidenhead with a fire engine and dry suits for working in water where they will liaise with Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service. 

All the firefighters deployed are expected to continue working with Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service and Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service until today [19 Feb]. 

All requests for assistance have come from the Fire and Rescue Service National Coordination Centre, who are coordinating the national response.