Wa­ter res­cue unit launched

Fire­fight­ers form new sup­port team

The Galloway News - - NEWS - Stephen Tem­lett

A team of spe­cial­ist fire­fight­ers has been trained to deal with flood­ing and se­vere weather in the re­gion.

Mem­bers of the wa­ter res­cue unit, which was launched this week, were out demon­strat­ing their skills on the River Nith this week fol­low­ing an in­ten­sive 18 months of train­ing.

The ser­vice will be vi­tal if there is a re­peat of the flood­ing which hit the re­gion dur­ing Storm Frank in 2015.

Crews will also be able to as­sist those who find them­selves in dif­fi­culty at rivers, lochs and open wa­ter across Dum­fries and Galloway.

John Har­vey, the watch man­ager at Dum­fries sta­tion, said: “There’s been a num­ber of res­cues in the Nith dur­ing the last few months so this unit is ab­so­lutely ideal for an ef­fec­tive res­cue. We know all too well this is vi­tal here.

“We’re now one of 20 teams across Scot­land that is trained for this and it is an im­por­tant ser­vice.”

The wa­ter res­cue unit, re­lo­cated from the re­tained An­nan Com­mu­nity Fire Sta­tion, is ca­pa­ble of con­duct­ing res­cues in shal­low, deep, mov­ing and stand­ing bod­ies of wa­ter.

The team can call upon mo­tor­boats and in­flat­a­bles sleds for ca­su­alty re­cov­ery in a va­ri­ety of res­cue sce­nar­ios.

Hamish McGhie, the se­nior of­fi­cer for the re­gion, said: “Our ca­pa­bil­ity to re­spond to wa­ter res­cue and flood­ing in­ci­dents across the re­gion has un­doubt­edly been en­hanced.

“We saw how rapidly flood waters can rise when New­ton Ste­wart was left dev­as­tated – we must be ready to act just as quickly to this emerg­ing risk.

“Ad­di­tion­ally, in the sum­mer we do see an in­flux of tourists and lo­cals look­ing to make the most of the area’s boun­ti­ful and beau­ti­ful wa­ter­ways, lochs and rivers.

“De­spite our best pre­ven­ta­tive work, peo­ple can and do get into dif­fi­culty in wa­ter, and we must stand ready to as­sist them.”

Spe­cially trained Fire­fight­ers on the River Nith on Mon­day

Ex­er­cise The new team demon­strates a river res­cue

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