A team of Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) Flood Rescue Team (FRT) volunteers was mobilised tonight to help rescue people from flooded homes in Stockton-on-Tees.
They were called just after 7pm to a flooded area near Bishopton Road, Stockton and have rescued people from homes in Wrensfield Road. The RNLI team has also transported gas engineers to the scene of suspected gas leaks in the area and is making contact with residents who are still in their homes, to check whether they want to be evacuated.
The team of seven specially-trained volunteers from Hartlepool, Redcar and Staithes and Runswick RNLI lifeboat stations and the charity’s North Divisional Base at Thornaby-on-Tees took an Arancia lifeboat to the scene.
Gareth Wilson, RNLI Training Divisional Inspector, North, who is leading the team, said:
‘We are working in an area where a beck has broken its banks, flooding nearby streets and homes. Now that darkness has fallen, we want to make sure no one is left in their homes if they would rather be evacuated for the night. The people we have already rescued were distressed and very pleased to be taken out of their houses.
‘RNLI Flood Rescue Team volunteers are all specially-trained to deal with flood conditions and most of the team involved tonight were also involved in the Cockermouth flood rescue operation three years ago, so they have a wealth of experience in these situations. Even so, it is always shocking to see the damage and distress that flooding can cause.’
The RNLI Flood Rescue Team was put on standby at 4pm today following a request for support from Cleveland Fire Brigade, who have been dealing with floods across the region throughout the day. The RNLI team is now working closely with both the fire service and Cleveland Police to respond to requests for help.
The RNLI Flood Rescue Team has assisted in two major flooding incidents in 2012 –at Aberystwyth in June where the team rescued 5 people and Belfast also in June, where the team were on standby. They were also involved in the flood response at Cockermouth in 2009 and Morpeth in 2008.
The RNLI FRT was formed in 2000 following the RNLI’s deployment to major flooding in Mozambique. The flood rescue team is split into divisional teams with some of the members capable of foreign deployment. All teams are ready to travel to assist in flood relief work at home and if required, across the globe. The team members are all either serving volunteer lifeboat crew or RNLI staff who volunteer for flood duties.
The RNLI Flood Rescue Team in action on Teesside tonight. Credit RNLI.
Notes to editors:
• Formed in 2000, the RNLI charity's Flood Rescue Team is available at 24 hours notice to deploy anywhere in the world where waterborne search and rescue is needed due to natural disaster.
• The RNLI FRT is also a declared facility to the UK Government via the Department for International Development (DfID).
• RNLI FRT members are all either serving volunteer lifeboat crew members or operational RNLI staff who volunteer to be a part of the team. The RNLI FRT depends on donations from the public and from organisations to fund specialist training and equipment.
• The RNLI also has representation on the Flood Response National Enhancement Programme (FRNEP), which is being lead by Defra in England and is responsible for delivering a new flood rescue capability.
• One of the RNLI FRT’s most challenging deployments was to the floods at Cockermouth at the end of 2009 where over 200 people were rescued from the rapid influx of water.
Toolstation - Sponsorship of RNLI Flood Rescue Team
Toolstation, a leading UK supplier of tools and fixings and part of the Travis Perkins Group, has partnered with the RNLI to support the charity’s Flood Rescue Team since 2010. The sponsorship agreement includes direct financial support of £30,000 per year, as well as extra funding from the sale of merchandise at Toolstation’s 100+ UK branches. In addition, Toolstation employees raise more money every year through SOS Day and a variety of other fundraising events.
RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Alison Levett, RNLI Public Relations Manager, on 07786 668912 or at firstname.lastname@example.org or Danielle Rush, RNLI Public Relations Manager, West, on 07786 668829.