Suffolk and Essex: Fire service gets �90,000 boost to tackle floods

FIRE services in Suffolk and Essex are to receive grants totalling �90,015 from the Government to help equip and train them to deal with flooding.

The money will be used to buy equipment and provide training for one rescue team for each service. Essex County Fire and Rescue Service will receive �47,152 and Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service �42,863.

Announcing the new funding, environment minister Richard Benyon said: “In the event of a large-scale flood, it is important that we can call upon manpower and equipment from a wide range of emergency services and voluntary groups.

“The grants announced today will help to pay for vital flood rescue training and assets such as rescue boats that will be readily available wherever they are needed.”

Fifteen organisations, including 11 other fire and rescue services and charities such as St John Ambulance and the RSPCA, will receive grants amounting to �820,000.

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These grants form the final part of a �1.7million scheme run by the Department for the Envirionment, Food and Rural Affairs to enhance local flood rescue capability. The grants were announced as the nation’s biggest emergency flooding exercise gets under way today.

Exercise Watermark will test the country’s response to extreme river, tidal and reservoir flooding and ensure we are prepared to deal with future floods.

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It involves about 10,000 people from 10 Government departments, 34 local resilience forums, emergency responders, water and energy companies, hospitals and schools.

For the first time, communities are also taking part – evacuating schools and installing flood-defence products designed to protect properties. The Government’s crisis response committee, COBRA, will also meet as part of the exercise.

Mr Benyon said: “Exercise Watermark stems from Sir Michael Pitt’s recommendations following the 2007 floods which caused so much devastation and heartache.

“The Government is committed to implementing those recommendations and working with communities to minimise the risks to people’s lives and their livelihoods.

“The events taking place this week will help us to be as prepared as we can be for the dangers caused by floods.”

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