How we operate our flood rescue service

When there’s a flooding emergency, the Fire and Rescue Service’s Command and Control system usually coordinates the emergency response, which can include deploying the RNLI Flood Rescue Team. 

The RNLI Flood Rescue Team during swift water rescue training

Photo: Robin Goodlad

The RNLI Flood Rescue Team during swift water rescue training

Across the RNLI, flood rescue volunteers stand by, ready to assist any other emergency services in the search and rescue operation.

Flood rescue equipment

Our regional flood rescue teams are fully equipped to allow the team to operate self-sufficiently for up to 48 hours.

The flood rescue equipment for each team includes:

  • one adapted inshore lifeboat
  • three vehicles - two rescue vans and a Land Rover for off-road driving
  • an operational base gazebo
  • electric generator
  • scene lighting and maintenance equipment
  • personal protection equipment
  • canyon line and technical rope kit
  • wading poles
  • torch
  • food and refreshments.

International aid

 We’re training search and rescue organisations overseas how to prepare for and cope during floods and helping other charity aid workers to stay safe too. Learn more about our international work. 

Flood rescue powered by you

We operate within the flood response guidelines set out by Defra (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs).

Our flood rescue service relies upon voluntary donations.

You, our supporters, are the power behind our flood rescue service and the lives we save and we can’t thank you enough.