How we operate our flood rescue service

When there’s a flooding emergency in the UK or Republic of Ireland, the Fire and Rescue Service’s Command and Control system 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 the Fire and Rescue Service and 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:

  • two adapted inshore lifeboats
  • two vehicles - a rescue van 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

When there’s a flooding emergency overseas, the Department for International Development (DFID) can call upon the expertise and resource of our Flood Rescue Team to help with the humanitarian relief efforts.

And we’ve gone one step further. 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

Our flood rescue service relies upon voluntary donations and is kindly supported by Toolstation.

We operate within the flood response guidelines set out by Defra (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) but we receive no government funding for responding to floods in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

For international deployments the DFID covers the cost, but funding essential training and maintaining our flood rescue equipment falls to us.

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

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