Deputy Chief Fire Officer from HWFRS leads national flood response
Local Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Richard Lawrence, has been leading the fire services major flood response in Cumbria following the devastation of Storm Desmond.
Over the past few days, Storm Desmond has brought strong winds, torrential rain and severe flooding to parts of the UK, with Cumbria being one of the worst hit areas. During this time Richard, who is the national Chief Fire Officers Association lead for flood response and High Volume Pump (HVP) Capability, has been coordinating and delivering the national deployment of expert staff and vital equipment.
Along with a team of experts, Richard has drafted into Cumbria sixteen fire services from across the UK to support with the flooding, along with several other organisations. Each of the fire services involved have an array of specialist resources and trained crews that can be called upon to assist with major incidents such as this.
Over the weekend, the flood rescue teams have rescued people stranded in flooded homes and the high volume pumping equipment has been used to remove flood water away from key areas, such as electricity substations and hospitals.
Operations continue and, along with national fire service colleagues, Richard is actively working to put plans in place should the situation widen.
Since taking up the voluntary position of national lead in 2009, Richard has dealt with many high profile deployments including the severe winter floods of 2014. His response and that of the many firefighters involved saved thousands of properties and helped thousands more recover from the devastating floods of early 2014.
Over the years, Richard has also introduced a number of capability improvements aimed at ensuring preparedness for major national deployments. In recognition of his significant work towards National Resilience, Richard received a Queen's Fire Service Medal in 2014.
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