Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service
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MORE equipment has been given to firefighters to help them keep communities safer and respond faster to water rescues and wide-scale flooding.
Some of the kit has already seen action at an incident on Saturday morning when two vehicles became trapped in 3 feet of flood water in Ferngrove.
Firefighters from Bury and Whitefield and a specialist water incident unit used an inflatable water sled to rescue four people from cars trapped in the flood water in Bury.
The introduction of the new equipment means every fire engine in Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) will soon carry specialist dry suits, personal floatation devices and safety helmets designed to be worn in water.
Firefighters at five stations across Greater Manchester, which have been identified as locations with a higher rate of water rescues, will receive enhanced water rescue training.
These same five stations, which are Wigan, Rochdale, Stockport, Stretford and Manchester Central, will also receive extra water rescue equipment.
GMFRS is also upskilling staff to increase the number of specialist water incident managers across the Service.
The drive to improve GMFRS’ response to flooding incidents comes following several large-scale flooding incidents in the past 12 months.
Following the aftermath of Storm Eva on Boxing Day 2015, 2,467 homes and businesses were flooded, with control operators at North West Fire Control taking more than 500 calls in a 19-hour peak period.
Chair of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, Councillor David Acton, said: “As our climate changes communities across Greater Manchester are being faced with large-scale flooding and weather incidents more often. On Boxing Day 2015, firefighters rescued 1,000 people from the floods that devastated communities across Greater Manchester.
“We recognise that as the risks faced by our communities change, we need to change our response to ensure we can protect them. We will do this by equipping our crew with more dry suits, enhanced training and extra water rescue equipment.
“But it’s not all about more equipment, this summer GMFRS has been at the heart of one of the largest exercises ever held in Europe – Triton II. This exercise brought together emergency services, local authorities, the military and other agencies to test our response to catastrophic flooding and ensure Greater Manchester is prepared for more floods in the future.”