Team typing--a tool for multi-agency response to UK flooding? Paul O'Sullivan examines teamwork and training with regard to flooding.(Marine Firefighting)

RECENT YEARS HAVE CLEARLY demonstrated that major flood emergencies are a growing problem in the UK. For the impact of such events to be reduced there is a need not only for deployment of trained personnel and resources but specialist operational management tools also need to be utilised. One such tool is the concept of Team Typing for swiftwater and flood search and rescue teams

At the recent Management of Major Flood Emergencies seminars held in Poole and Edinburgh and hosted by Rescue 3 (UK) and Lane Jefferies and Associates, internationally recognised flood rescue expert, Battalion Chief Tim Rogers from the USA outlined that floods by their very nature are:

* Multi-agency events.

* Multi-jurisdicational events.

* Haz-mat and public health events that can kill and injure on a large scale.

* Long-term events that can directly affect and exhaust emergency services personnel and citizens physically, emotionally, and mentally.

Therefore we can see that incident commanders at major flood operations are going to need to call in the help of additional resources from other agencies either to rest an existing asset (eg, fire and rescue crews) or to provide a specialist service (swiftwater boat operations). Before these new assets can be deployed managers need to know their capability or else risk wasting highly experienced and equipped teams on basic tasks or deploying a team to a task that they have neither the personnel skills or equipment to be able to cope with.

Currently in the UK there is no common benchmark to reference swiftwater/food search and rescue capability against. At best when calling in swiftwater rescue team you may be able to ascertain how many people are coming, have an idea of training they may have received and know if they have any specialist equipment. But would the incident commander have any idea of:

* When the team members Last received training?

* If that training was provided by a recognised and accredited provider?

* Any specialist skills the team possess?

* The operational remit of any boats the team may have? …

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