As a result of the flooding in and around Gloucester City IRC Admin was contacted at approximately 13.00 hrs to assist with emergency boat cover. I was contacted and hour later.
After arranging transport I left for East Sussex to collect the Rib, the inflatable boat, and other necessary equipment. Meanwhile, Rob Davis travelled to Gloucester City Fire Station to set up a co-ordination centre and initiate necessary contacts. At approximately 2200 hrs Rob and I prepared the boats and other equipment ready for work.
Rob then made the Station officer aware of our state of readiness and we were placed on standby to assist with any 999 calls requiring rescue boats.
It was understood that Fire service rescue boats cannot work at night without a second boat on site.
Various telephone calls were made to IRC Southern co-coordinator we both then turned in for the night.
At 0700 hrs the station alarm sounded and we were mobilised to The Rea Hempstead, where an elderly lady was cut off by 4ft of water.
The IRC unit was deployed along with 2 pumps and the Fire Brigade Rescue boat with blue lights.
At the scene the Fire Brigade boat was launched along with Rob and a second Fire Brigade boat from Tewksbury.
I was to be the third man on the second boat. At that stage, Rob suggested using the IRC fully inflatable.
The fully inflatable can be taken all the way up to the doorsteps because its bottom is flat and will not easily ground. This was found to be a good idea as further people were evacuated by Rob and me.
At one point the boat was pulled over a hedge. In total 6 people were helped to safe ground and waiting relatives. Other dwellers were approached by the IRC team with offers of help and advice, such as the risk of contamination by sewerage which could be smelt in the water.
The decision was then made by the Fire brigade to return to the station and we all returned as a unit. At 1010 hrs we arrived back at the station. At the station myself and Rob washed, prepared our equipment made calls, sent in sit rep at 11.00 hrs, and once again were on standby.
At approx. 12.30 hrs I and Rob were interviewed live on BBC Gloucester radio and immediately afterwards by HTV local news. At 13.00 hrs we gave a brief report to Scotland admin.
While waiting for another callout we both enjoyed a Christmas dinner with the station crew. Then we made a call to Colin HeseIton of Gold control to discuss the outcome of the Strategic Management Meeting. At this stage the Environment Agency predicted a decline in water levels and improving weather conditions. As a result of the new information and Colin’s overview, the team decided to stand down (14.20 hrs).
Nevertheless, our assistance was again offered. We informed the station officer and thanked them for making us feel welcome and for the dinner.
Final sit rep to Scotland and Gary Francis at 14.30 hrs.
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