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Briefings took place at 8am on the mornings of 28th and 29th December with a focus on daytime street clearance protocols for all boat teams. Although the weather in York had improved, the flow of water from higher ground was expected to peak at 7am on 28th December with the possibility of overtopping the flood defences. Thankfully, this did not happen as the peak was approximately 0.5m below the flood defence height in most areas. With a family rescued from their flooded house by the Merseyside Team on 28th December, teams remained on emergency standby overnight.
MFRS crews carried out the rescue of four people from their stranded vehicle on 29th December after they had made a wrong turn and their car was inundated with floodwater.
During this period six mutual assistance Type B Boat Teams were available at the SHA plus a boat team from the host Service in North Yorkshire, with three High Volume Pumps also available through mutual assistance arrangements.
Between 29th and 31st December, an SHA was once again established at Cumbria Fire & Rescue Service HQ in Penrith, with the MFRS Boat Team required to stand by along with four other boat teams and two HVP teams from across the country. Thankfully assets were not deployed due to the impact of the weather front not being as severe as expected. However all assets were then redeployed from Penrith to York on the morning of 31st December to provide relief assistance to crews in York.
On 31st December there were 10 boat crews from around the UK, three Water Rescue Tactical Advisors and Enhanced Logistical Support (ELS), all providing assistance to North Yorkshire FRS with floods still affecting all areas of the county. Water levels in and
around the area of York were still very high at around 3.5m but they had peaked at 5.4m earlier in the week.
Merseyside, Nottinghamshire, London & Hereford & Worcester Fire & Rescue Services provided emergency response assistance to North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service, given the heightened risk of persons falling into the swollen River Ouse whilst out celebrating New Year’s Eve. Thankfully the New Year celebrations passed off without serious incident.
All National Resilience assets were finally stood down at 9am on 1st January 2016.
Designated Welfare Officers were placed with crews throughout the deployment to ensure crews were able to remain resilient in extremely arduous conditions. MFRS Senior Officers provided updates of rescue activity throughout the deployment in York to the Chief Fire and Rescue Advisor to Government, Peter Holland, and Chief Fire Officer and National Resilience Lead, Dan Stephens, who coordinated the response along with HVP and Flood Response Capability Lead, Richard Lawrence, and CFOA Operations Director, Roy Wilsher.
As major flooding incidents such as this become more common, the Fire & Rescue Services have consistently demonstrated the ability to provide a highly effective response to support affected areas using national and local assets under the National Coordination and Advisory Framework.
Photo courtesy of Paul Wharton Photography.
Photo courtesy of Paul Wharton Photography.

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