December 21 2014 Latest news:
Monday, July 21, 2014
Firefighters in Essex dealt with hundreds of flood and weather-related incidents yesterday, making the county one of the worst affected areas in the country.
About 500 incidents were reported to the service from 3pm yesterday, the majority of which were in the south of the county.
More than 400 incidents took place in Canvey Island and at the height of activity, there were seven pumping appliances on the island.
Other areas hit by flooding included Wickford, Waltham Abbey and Rayleigh.
Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Paul Hill, said: “The first calls came in at around 3pm yesterday afternoon and it wasn’t until 3.30am that we were able to scale back to normal service on Canvey.
“During that time we dealt with floods, structures struck by lightning and a couple of structure collapses. Our approach to get through such an unprecedented level of calls was to deal with all life risk as priority and then we sent officers and appliances with lists of addresses to make sure there was no life risk at those calls where none had been reported just to make sure that residents were safe.
“There was some frustration that with such widespread flooding, our crews were unable to pump out properties because there was just nowhere to pump the water away but we are comfortable that we did everything we could to make sure people were and remained safe.
“This morning, it appears the flood water has receeded quite a lot and there has been no more rainfall. We do anticipate with the daylight hours another raft of calls but if that happens we are ready to send resources back onto the Island to deal with them.”
People are being reminded to take extra care today as the final day of an eight-day strike campaign by Fire Brigades Union members takes place between 6-8am and 5-7pm.
The strike is part of a national row with the government over changes to pensions.
A spokesman for the fire service added: “Members of the public should continue to dial 999 in an emergency and working crews will attend. Businesses, please follow up automatic alarms with a phone call to ensure a response during periods of reduced fire cover.”