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FIRE ENGINES SENT TO JUST 3 FLOODING INCIDENTS DESPITE MORE THAN 130 EMERGENCY CALLS

Hampshire & Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service received more than 130 emergency calls relating to flooding between Wednesday and Thursday last week, but pumps were sent to just 3 incidents.

Flash flooding led to a number of roads and properties becoming submerged overnight as some 60mm of rain fell over just a 6-hour period. This unexpected deluge led to a total of 135 calls to the fire service from desperate residents.

However, despite significant floods being reported with many homes underwater and roads impassable, it has been revealed that fire engines were only mobilised to 2.2% of calls – 3 incidents.

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Historically, firefighters have responded to flooding events on the Island to assist with pumping out properties and reducing the risk of further flooding. In July 2012, 3 fire appliances were sent to Binstead when 8 homes were flooded. Then, in March 2013, the High Volume Pump was used to assist at Monktonmead Brook with the fire service called back to the Monktonmead area again in December 2013.

Just over 2 years ago, in July 2021, Cemetery Road in Binstead was once again aided by fire crews, with confirmation at the time that no lives were at risk.

But during last week’s flooding, there was a notable lack of fire service support compared to previous years. The High Volume Pump wasn’t mobilised at all and Ryde’s appliances hardly moved all day, despite Monktonmead being devastated by flood water from the brook.

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In the wake of Thursday morning’s flooding, Hampshire & Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service has now confirmed to Island Echo that they will only immediately respond to flooding incidents with a fire engine where there is a risk to life. The 3 incidents attended last Thursday were at Briddlesford Road at Downend, Middle Road near Calbourne and Sylvan Drive in Newport and all involved people trapped in their cars.

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Duty officers were also mobilised to further triage issues on the ground. But in a lot of cases the callers were simply given advice and asked to call back should the situation change and there be a threat to life.

It’s unclear if there has been a policy change within the service, or whether the sometimes low availability of appliances and crew across the Island has had an impact on the strategic decisions made in relation to the service’s response to the flooding.

Jeff Walls, Group Manager for the Isle of Wight at HIWFRS, has said:

“The safety of people on the island is our priority. Flooding has a devastating impact on our communities and while we would like to be able to help everyone to protect and limit the damage to their property, we need to ensure that we have crews available to be able to immediately respond to calls where there is a threat to life.”

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Stew Adamson, Deputy Chief Fire Officer of HIWFRS, has said:

“We recognise that seeing flood waters rise and enter your home or business is very distressing. In the event of major flooding, we work closely with other agencies to deliver a coordinated response. As a fire service our operational priority is to protect life and our resources will always be focused on making sure people are safe. Our response plans follow national guidance.

“If you call 999 during a flood a fire crew will not automatically be sent unless there is a threat to life. Our highly trained control team will triage calls based on risk. Where resources are not deployed, Control Room operators offer advice on dealing with flooding and provide contact details for where callers can get further help, including floodline and the local council.”

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The views/opinions expressed in these comments are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Island Echo. House rules on commenting must be followed at all times.
26 Comments
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Hammy Samir
Hammy Samir
4 months ago

“they will only immediately respond to flooding incidents with a fire engine where there is a risk to life”
Thanks a bundle. At least we know where we stand. So there is no help at all if your house floods. Best thing to do is set your house on fire if it is flooded.

Islander
Islander
Reply to  Hammy Samir
4 months ago

Yeah, they’re not there to comfort you in a flood. Tf do you expect them to do? Erase the flood for you?

Hammy Samir
Hammy Samir
Reply to  Islander
4 months ago

The fire and RESCUE service should be helping in emergencies. That is why they exist but no they are now jobsworths like all of the useless, lazy council staff. We need to get our public services back to doing the basics and nothing more. They employ contractors to do everything for extortionate prices and waste our money. Look at Island Roads – what a big mistake that is. A response to bent councillors awarding contracts to their mates but we were probably better off with the bent system. At least things got done. The council and Island Roads need closing down and starting afresh with new people in charge and new councillors.

Last edited 4 months ago by Hammy Samir
Isle of Joke
Isle of Joke
4 months ago

Another useless service on the Island.

It like many other Island services use to be very good, everything is going to the dogs
thesedays.

Get real
Get real
Reply to  Isle of Joke
4 months ago

No the world is now full of useless service dependent people that are unable to take responsibility. That’s why nhs gets bogged down with people feeling sorry for themselves due to their lifestyle. Police get called because someone is being mocked for having ginger hair. The fire service gets called because someones toast is jammed in their toaster. Services are buckling under the pressure of half wits.

J s
J s
Reply to  Get real
4 months ago

I quit agree with you everyone thinks the emergency services are there to comfort you but people need to realise that all our emergency services are doing the best they can with what they’ve got it the government we need to blame for all the cut backs

Mark
Mark
Reply to  J s
4 months ago

Whilst I accept that years of cutbacks mean that the emergency services can only cover a fraction of the work they used to and are, effectively, limited to life and death emergencies only, nothing has been put in place to fill the gap.

The problem is, who exactly are you supposed to call to help to mitigate the flooding by, say, deploying a massive pump to prevent dozens, or perhaps hundreds of properties from getting flooded?

There are very few organisations with that kind of equipment and the training to use it properly.

In fact, last time I looked it was just the Fire Brigade and the Thunderbirds and one of those organisations is fictional with the other heading the same way due to budget cuts.

Islander
Islander
Reply to  Isle of Joke
4 months ago

Useless because they only come out to possible life threatening emergencies?

Dennis
Dennis
4 months ago

That’s Hampshire for you!

Ben
Ben
4 months ago

So you call the fire service when your house is flooding and they don’t want to know. You call the police when your house has been broken into and they might turn up in 3 days time to and you call an ambulance when you fall down the stairs and one might turn up in about 3 hours if your lucky

Wolf
Wolf
4 months ago

Why did the people in charge not act sooner instead shutting the gate after the horse has bolted,or was it a case of im alright mate ,sod you .

dot
dot
4 months ago

the Island Fire and Rescue Service was good till our useless  Council sold it to hampshire saying we would get a better service its like everything this council does it cost us more money and all we get crap

Freddie
Freddie
Reply to  dot
4 months ago

Yep one of Clare Mosdales great ideas. We are talking in main of Ryde, who’s fireman most of time are sat in station being bored and work is made up by Hampshire around stats,health and safety etc. These fireman would of greatly liked to get involved helping people, they would still of been able to quickly respond to other incidents if needed. We are paying more and more for these services but are getting a poor service. How come when under IOW control they would help. Why are they sent out to dead bodies? already dead. Council staff sat in county hall sending emails all day, often to other colleagues should be sent out and help. how an elderly disabled person stuck in bedroom when power off, flooding coming in and no other help is not !

Fat vader
Fat vader
Reply to  Freddie
4 months ago

Have not of

Davis Bryant
Davis Bryant
4 months ago

I think it is abundantly clear that there has been a policy change. The question is, who changed it? I am sure that the ‘rank and file’ firemen would have loved to have been able to get out and help those whose homes were flooded or were at risk of flooding.

terry
terry
4 months ago

The Fire Service have to comply with cut backs, to assist with pumping out floods is not a priority these days .

Dangermouse
Dangermouse
4 months ago

So their claiming they might have been over stretched if an emergency came in. But I thought we now had all the resources of Hampshire at our disposal. No?

Last edited 4 months ago by Dangermouse
IOW
IOW
Reply to  Dangermouse
4 months ago

Yes as long as the ferrys are running

Claire bear
Claire bear
4 months ago

The issue is if the fire service pump water out of one house, it creates a further problem for someone else.

fred
fred
4 months ago

Tory cut backs, their plan, one day, privatise it.

Boris Oven Ready Doris
Boris Oven Ready Doris
4 months ago

It was when Dopey Bojo was London Mayor he was responsible for
The fire station near Grenfell to be closed down.

Are all Tories useless idiots!

Bronco
Bronco
4 months ago

Did I miss the bit where the Fire service is a public service? Or does that have share holders as well?

Fluffy Panda
Fluffy Panda
4 months ago

I called the fire brigade for my neighbours in the early hours Thursday. First of all I was put through to Dorsey & Wiltshire brigade, so gave them all the information I could. They then told me they’d pass it all over to Hants & IOW and someone would call me back. No call back, no fire brigade arrived. My elderly neighbours’ house was devastated and there was no one to help them! Very poor now knowing they only attended 3 incidents.

Christina
Christina
4 months ago

What a load of crap . Only called out if risk to life!! So roads can stay flooded carers and nurses trying to get to calls don’t count. Important Hospital appointments don’t count . Well at least we know the mindset now of our so called emergency services. Thanks a lot .

Andy Gilchrist
Andy Gilchrist
Reply to  Christina
4 months ago

The blame lays firmly at the door of the policy makers, in Eastleigh, & not the guys on the engines here, those highly paid managers within the fire brigade who drive desks & keyboards, reading the statement from Manager Walls says it all really, poor policy driven by mainlanders with corporate rhetoric at their heart.

Steve
Steve
4 months ago

Pretty poor that the brigade isn’t there to help people in their hour of need. If you do happen to have a fire, let’s hope they will attend that even if the property is empty and there is no risk to life!

 

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