Firefighters working tirelessly to help the major flooding incident in Derbyshire

Fire and Rescue Services from across the UK are continuing to support the major incident in Derbyshire - and are working tirelessly to assist in reducing water levels in the Toddbrook reservoir, while helping to keep the public  safe. 

The reservoir and dam have already shown signs of extensive damage, which could lead to flooding of nearby homes. The reservoir contains 1.3million tonnes of water and the dam holding it contains 300 million gallons.

Ten High Volume Pumps (HVPs) have been deployed overnight pumping water to assist in reducing water levels. The deployment is part of the National Fire Chiefs Council's (NFCC) National Resilience (NR) response. This can include fire appliances, and a range of specialised teams including High Volume Pumps, Enhanced Logistics Support Teams, swift water rescue teams, powered rescue boats, tactical advisers, and standard fire pumps.

The HVPs have been pumping water from the reservoir to other locations to reduce the pressure on the reservoir wall, in an attempt to reduce the impact on the local community. HVPs have the capacity to move up to 7,000 litres of water per minute currently the 10 pumps which are deployed are pumping in the region of 4.2 million litres of water per hour. It is currently anticipated that the incident will run for at least 2 to 3 days.

A Strategic Holding Area (SHA) has been set up, which assists in the coordination of a multi-agency response at national major incidents. This is a pre-identified space, large enough to accommodate and coordinate logistical support structures of the emergency services and other organisations required for a national response.

In total the assets deployed - either to the scene or the SHA - are:  

  • Ten HVPs from the following Fire and Rescue Services:  Derbyshire; Greater Manchester; Northamptonshire; South Yorkshire; Mid & West Wales; Hereford & Worcester; Nottinghamshire; Staffordshire, West Midlands, and  West Yorkshire
  • Two HVP Tactical Advisors: from Greater Manchester FRS and Cheshire FRS
  • One Flood Rescue Tactical Advisor: from Derbyshire
  • Two ELS Teams: from Staffordshire and Nottinghamshire

Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service currently have deployed the following:

  • Two water rescue teams supporting the evacuation
  • Six Derbyshire appliances and water rescue unit
  • One appliance supporting the Strategic Holding Area (SHA)

Roy Wilsher, Chair of the NFCC, said: "This is yet another example of the excellent coordinated response by the UK Fire and Rescue Service. Once again, assets have been mobilised quickly and are playing a key role in the response. Our ability to mobilise our assets is an essential part of our national resilience capability.

"This coordinated approach shows how we can get the right equipment and people in place quickly and efficiently, while working closely with others. This reiterates my previous statements about why we must be resourced to risk, as well as to demand. We have seen an increase in demand for such national resilience deployments, when we look at recent widespread flooding and large wildfires.”

The overarching aims and objectives of the operation is to save lives, limit additional water entering reservoir, reduce strain on the dam by pumping out the water and reinforce and to ‘make good’ the existing dam structure.

It will also aim to protect the substation which supplies the local area, protect and mitigate the impact on the water treatment plant, three miles away. Liaison with other fire services in the North West is also taking place, with regard to any potential effects which could occur downstream.

The Environment Agency issued a 'danger to life' warning which has resulted in thousands of residents being evacuated.  Emergency services have also been assisting in the evacuation of  homes and businesses which were identified as being at risk. About 85% of people in Whaley Bridge have evacuated their homes.

  • The National Resilience Assurance Team (NRAT), supported by lead NFCC officers, coordinates the national response, provides vital support to government and supports fire and rescue services with additional assets
  • .NR also provides invaluable support in response to these nationally significant incidents, working to the National Coordination and Advisory Framework (NCAF), to ensure a flexible response is put in place.
  • Highly experienced fire and rescue service strategic and tactical advisers support affected areas, which has been consistently demonstrated since the Cumbria floods
  • in 2005.Fire and Rescue Services also coordinate a national response to wide area flooding on behalf of DEFRA through a well-established and highly effective National Coordination and Advisory Framework (NCAF).


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