Taking stock of the CFOA operational response business stream.(CFOA)(Chief Fire Officer's Association)


The last 12 months have presented a number of challenges and demands for our association, both operationally and by virtue of the sheer workload generated in contributing to and developing our future operational response. Whilst this, the first of two articles, outlines some of the work that is ongoing within the operational response business stream, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our members who freely give their time and significant commitment in moving the agenda forward. It is demanding, but without their individual contribution our association would not have the influence that it now has.

Flooding Response and Rescue

The summer of 2007 saw a number of areas across the UK impacted by severe rainfall and flooding, necessitating what has been recognised as the largest peacetime emergency response and recovery operation ever seen in the UK. In November 2007, the UK also came within a few millimetres of an even larger flooding event, this time from the sea as a result of tidal surge.

During the last 12 months, CFOA has made a major contribution to the preparation for and resolution of these events. Our work to assist in delivery and management of a national High Volume Pumping (HVP) capability through the New Dimension programme ensured that even greater damage was averted in many areas, and that communities were returned to normality as quickly as possible.

CFOA also provided the national leadership required to support multi-agency operations that resulted in the rescue of over 7,000 people during the summer floods. We provided the Flood Support Team that co-ordinated specialist rescue teams from fire and rescue services and a range of voluntary agencies, such as the RNLI. The processes and protocols enacted were based on CFOA's major flood event report, adopted by the CFOA Board in November 2006. We subsequently made a major contribution to reviews into flooding matters conducted by Sir Michael Pitt and Sir Ken Knight.

We await Sir Michael's final report with interest, particularly in respect of whether he is minded to recommend that the FRS should be given a statutory duty for water rescue. …

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