Water rescue unit launched
Firefighters form new support team
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