Yorkshire floods: Fire brigade spends £1/2 million on water rescue vehicles and equipment

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New power boats, flood response vehicles and protective equipment worth £500,000 have been deployed in West Yorkshire to carry out rescues in the event of a repeat of the Boxing Day floods of 2015.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service says the investment will benefit the county the next time there is widespread flooding, as well as being a national asset to be used anywhere else in the country.

A clean-up operation in Kirkstall after the 2015 floods

A clean-up operation in Kirkstall after the 2015 floods

The Boxing Day floods of 2015 caused huge damage around the region and tested the fire service with 92 flood related incidents and 117 rescues carried out, mostly in the Leeds and Calderdale area.

The total spend, worth £550,000, include new VW Transporter vans with powered boats and trailers, high volume pump support vehicles, rescue sleds, radio equipment and 'enhanced water rescue training'.

Today MP Holly Lynch attended Halifax Sailing Club with Chief Fire Officer John Roberts and Chair of the Fire Authority, Councillor Judith Hughes, to see the new equipment in action.

Mr Roberts said: “Whilst we hope the devastating Boxing Day floods of 2015 never happen again, we are better prepared to deal with the consequences.

“We have previously deployed crews to other areas of the country such as Cumbria and Wiltshire when they have been overcome by flooding and these new assets will enhance our ability to support fellow fire and rescue services in a major flood incident.”
Coun Hughes said: “The Fire Service has undertaken a considerable amount of work since the 2015 floods to review its flood response capability and work with partners to carry out training exercises with our counterparts in local authority emergency planning teams.”

Kevin Hollinrake MP for Thirsk and Malton Picture: Anna Gowthorpe

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