The team help residents out of the flooded area in the Pioner rescue boat. John Wilkinson, Willie McMartin, Alistair Brown and Ray Gray.

Part of a flooded housing estate. Almost 100 residents had to be evacuated. This was carried out by a multi agency team under the control of Humberside Fire.

25th June 2007

We were contacted by the North Yorkshire Police (Inspector John Denham, Silver control at Harrogate) at 09.50 and requested to send a team to Harrogate to assist with the floods.

We were asked to attend a silver control meeting at 11.30 in Harrogate. I set off at 10.10 driven by Will Smith but we had severe difficulty getting out of Beverley due to the flooding. Every road we tried was under water.

10.30 – It became apparent that we would not be able to get to North Yorkshire. We had also been advised by the Coast guard that there did not seem to be any serious issue within North Yorkshire at the present time.

So with that in mind we offered our services to Humberside Police. The offer was accepted and a request was made for as many boats as possible. I spoke to Willie and mobilised the Scottish boat with a request for a team from Scotland.


While en route to Hull the following people were mobilised:

• John Wilkinson
• Ian Wains
• Tony Dawson
• Willie McMartin
• John Anderson
• Alistair Brown
• Jimmy Livingstone

The RV point was Priory Road Police station. This changed to Hessle Road Police HQ as Priory Road had flooded and was now being evacuated.
12.00 – It took us an hour and a half to find a way through to Hull. We again hit water at Chantlands Avenue.

We stopped to ask a police officer which roads were open and how we could get to Police HQ. She was in the process of calling for assistance for a woman who had tried to swim in the flood water but and got into difficulty and was now trapped. I was advised that the water was about 11 to 12 foot deep. I explained who I was and that I had a dry suit and rescue equipment in the car and after a quick assessment advised her that I was able to retrieve the casualty. My offer was accepted and the casualty was retrieved with the assistance of a police officer who got to her first from the other side of the flood water. After making sure that both she and the police officer were safely out of the water I returned to the vehicle.
Once this was done the police officer arranged for a police escort to take us to Police HQ.
13.45 – Arrived at Hessle Rd Police Stn and reported to Inspector Berrage. He advised me to wait in the canteen for deployment. The rest of the team started to arrive (Ian Wains with the van and equipment and Tony Dawson.) John Wilkinson was also on Route as was Dave Weller. Will Smith who had driven me into Hull was going to return to Beverley but was advised by the police that the town was now cut off and he would not get back in. We were leaving all our vehicles at the station and using the Rescue Unit as transport for the team so Will decided to stay with us.

15.45 – We were deployed to assist with the rescue of elderly persons trapped by flood water at East Halton, near Grimsby. This was about an hours’ drive away but we managed it in 45 minutes with the aid of a police escort.
16.30 – Arrived on scene. There were 13 people living in elderly persons accommodation that were (at its deepest) waist deep. We used the small boat and carried the residents to the boat the pulled them to a police vehicle that was driven into the water. They were then transferred to the police vehicle.

The Pioner rescue boat with bow down is placed at the door of an elderly resident so she can walk out from her home. The team are working with Humberside Fire. John Wilkinson, Ray Gray, Alistair Brown and Willie McMartin.
The team help an elderly resident out of the inflatable boat. She was transported to safety by Humberside Fire in the appliance parked near by. John Anderson, John Wilkinson, Alistair Brown and Willie McMartin.
The team help an elderly resident out of the inflatable boat. Tony Dawson and John Anderson.
The team help residents out of the flooded area in the Pioner rescue boat. They are working alongside Humberside Fire. John Wilkinson, John Anderson, Willie McMartin and Alistair Brown.
The team help residents out of the Pioner rescue boat.
Working in a flooded house. John Anderson.
The team help residents out of the flooded area by boat. They are working alongside Humberside Fire.
A resident is taken to safety in our inflatable boat. John Anderson, Willie McMartin and Tony Dawson.
We eventually rescued 13 people and 8 dogs from the street. As we were leaving we were asked to assist a young girl who had been playing in the water with some friends when we arrived. She was advised by myself to stay out of the water but, as kids do, took no notice. She was now very cold and could hardly move. Tony and Ian Suited up and retrieved her from the water where she was handed over to a local council official. They also managed to get some dry clothes for her.

We contacted Silver control and advised them that we were now clear and they requested us to go to Grimsby police station and standby.

19.05 – Arrived at Grimsby Police Station where we were shown to a canteen and ask to standby.

I requested an update from Willie re their ETA and was surprised to hear how close they were. Apparently they were also travelling with an escort which had been with them from Carlisle and was bringing them to Hull.

20.30 – Willie and the team arrived from Scotland. Dave Weller had been unable to reach us due to flood water and John who had been stuck in Leaconfield for almost 4 hours was now on the road again and heading towards Grimsby.

The full team was now as follows:
• Ray Gray Team Leader
• Willie McMartin Deputy Team Leader
• Ian Wains
• Tony Dawson
• John Wilkinson
• Ann Marie Macdonald
• Jimmy Livingston

We were also to be joined by John Anderson and Alistair Brown, both of whom were on route.
20.50 – Willie‘s team (Annie and Jimmy) were deployed to Isaac Newton House in Hull to assist with the rescue of elderly people trapped by the flood water.
21.10 – We were told to deploy back to Hull. We contacted John Wilkinson who was just outside Grimsby and advised him of our deployment. He joined us on route.
21.50 – We arrived back in Hull and were deployed to the same location as Willie. On arrival at Isaac Newton House the evacuation was almost complete. Had a brief discussion with our colleagues from Humber rescue who were also helping with the evacuation. We were given a number of addresses of vulnerable people in the adjoining streets, Arcon Drive, that need to be rescued. We evacuated 14 people mostly elderly with the odd exception and again the water was about waist deep. John Anderson and Alistair Brown arrived as we were finishing this deployment which now meant the team was complete.

26th June 2007

00.05 – Finished at Arcon Drive and told by silver control to go to Calvert lane Fire station and standby. Willie‘s team had been deployed to another job.
00.30 – Arrived at the fire station and waited for Willies team to join us. The ground floor and garage of the fire station were under about a foot of water.
01.10 – We were deployed to Worcester drive to rescue two elderly residents trapped by flood water. This set the pattern that was to run right through the night and into the following day with teams being deployed to the following locations:
• Yorkshire Road
• Prior Road
• Warwickshire close
• Kirkwood close (30 people to be rescued)
07.40 – We were deployed to the village of Withernwick in East Riding were two families had been cut off by flood water. This was about a 30 minute blue-light drive. We successfully rescued one couple plus 4 dogs. The other was happy to stay as although the road was cut off her home was not flooded. She did request some fresh water for drinking. We gave her what we had on the vehicle and some of the villagers that were not affected by the flood in the also provided her with plenty of water. We finished at 09.30 and, following some food and drink very kindly provided by the villagers, we returned to the fire station.

11.30 – Back to the by now normal routine of rescuing residents trapped by the flood water at the following places:
• Sorral Drive
• Hotham Road
• Worcester Road
• Coronation Road
• Ilford Road
• Ampleforth Road
• Moorhouse Road (70 people to be rescued)
• Lindsey Place
All of those evacuated were taken to the City Hall, some time by us but other times aboard a double-decker bus; in Hull were they were booked in and given hot drinks and food until a place could be found for them. A lot of them were settling in for a long stay.
16 .00 – Our last call was back to Arcon Drive to pick up a vulnerable resident and take them to the reception centre. It was noticeable that some of the water levels had dropped substantially particularly in and around the fire station which was now no longer flooded.

16.30 – Following a telephone call from both the fire service and police silver controls we were thanked for our help and after a 30hrs 30 minute unbroken shift we were formally stood down.
During the early hours of the morning the stores van had been driven into some flood water that was deeper than it looked and the van had broken down (the water was coming over the bonnet). We pushed the vehicle out of the water and John Wilkinson towed us back to the fire station. When we had finished we cleaned out the vehicle and removed what equipment we could. Ian made arrangements for the vehicle to be taken back to the store.
He stayed at the station with the vehicle while the rest of the team came back with me for some food and sleep. All of the team members were fit and well but just a little tired.
We did get requests from other team members offering assistance which we were very grateful for. We did consider a second replacement team but at that time it had become obvious that there would not be much more work to do as the water levels were dropping.
During the deployment the team had rescued 136 people and 12 animals
My thanks as usual go to all members of the team both on site and in the office.
I also need to pass on my own thanks and that of the team to Will Smith who stayed with us for the full 30 hours assisting where he could and was a great help on many occasions throughout the deployment.

Ray Gray
Team Leader

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