Saturday 8th January 2005
12.30: Made an offer of assistance to Cumbria Police for flood relief work.
The offer was accepted at 12.35
Mobilised Sheena, Dave Weller, John Wilkinson and Ray Gray, also requested the Scottish boat crew. Travelled to the store with Dave and picked up the van. The rally point given by the police was in front of Marks and Spencer in town centre. The contact on site is Inspector Mike Astley.
Requested assistance from the other regions.
Two other teams were mobilised, eastern and Southern.
Had a difficult journey as strong winds, heavy rain and a number of vehicles that had been blown over all hindered our progress.
Communication is difficult across the entire Carlisle area as many transmitters are down and mobiles do not work.
Arrived on site at the rally point and reported to the command centre.
Allocated work at Warwick Road. The team were tasked with evacuating people from homes; this included a number of ‘poorly’ people.
The water was around 4 to 5 feet deep in places.
A number of cars were submerged and were floating around under the water. There was also a very strong cross wind blowing.
There had been no power in the area for over four hours, so it was total darkness with the only light being provided by torches.
Street signs and bollards were also under water making navigation of the street a slow and careful process.
There were a number of cars parked next to petrol pumps in a garage, all of which were now under water. This gave the impression the water level had risen very quickly.
The team successfully brought in a number of families and individuals who were then evacuated to community centres. We rotated the crews that were going out and were kept busy until just after midnight.
Sunday 9th January
The fire service asked if we would leave a team on scene to respond to any emergencies that might crop up over night.
This we agreed to do and the fire service then withdrew from the site.
Accommodation was arranged for the team in a church hall 10 minutes from where we were working so half the team went to the church hall for a rest and the rest of the team stayed on scene.
Rotated the teams. The fire service and police arrived in force at 05.45. The police set up road blocks and as IRC were the call out crew I went to find out what was happening. The senior officer told me that they had 4 addresses to check to see if anyone was in. I advised them that our boat was already in the water and the crew were kitted up and ready to go.
As the water level was now subsiding IRC were stood down at 08.45. The kit was checked and put away and we left the site at 09.30
Report by Ray Gray – Team Leader