Dec 5 2015
At 22.39hrs the evening of Saturday 5th December, the team was contacted by Lancashire Constabulary regarding the flooding events in Lancaster, and what assistance could be provided by Bolton MRT.
A call was also received from Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service from the Gold Control set up for this incident.
It was confirmed via a full team call out at 00.28hrs on Sunday 6th December, by Lancashire Constabulary / Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, that the team was required to now respond to the major incident / flooding incident in Lancaster, Lancashire.
This involved a full Bolton MRT call out with all our available assets, including four Land Rover Mountain Rescue Ambulances, our Incident Control Vehicle, our Minibus and our SAR Boat, along with twenty team operational members, with the team then returning back home, following relief from additional out of county Fire Service and Army resources, with our completion in this incident at 10.58hrs on the morning of Sunday 6th December 2015.
Throughout this incident, at the flooding on Cable Street, Lancaster, we deployed our SAR Boat and personnel alongside LFRS and Lancashire Constabulary resources.
Other team members, in three team vehicles, initially stationed at Lancaster Hospital, were involved in assisting NWAS Lancashire and Cumbria with responding to Ambulance calls, which included emergency responses and patient transfers, transporting essential staff to their employment at Lancaster Hospital, and transporting evacuated persons to a rest centre.
Throughout a large part of the time we were at Lancaster and responding to incidents in the area, it continued to rain, alongside strong winds at times.
A widespread power failure in the entire Lancaster area added to the flooding problems, with all emergency services personnel and other organisations deployed working in conditions of poor weather and total darkness over a very wide area.
Thankfully our radio communications stood the test, but areas of Airwave outage were experienced, and gradually the mobilephone service providers failed one by one, as finally ‘Vodafone’ went off line in the area – so no mobilephone contact at all!
During this incident we worked directly alongside resources and personnel from NWAS Lancashire and Cumbria Area EOC, LFRS multiple resources including boats, Lancashire Constabulary Officers including local Divisional Officers, Traffic and even Armed Response Officers drafted in to assist, our colleagues from Rossendale and Pendle MRT, North West Police Underwater Search and Marine Unit (with two boats) and Lancaster Hospital NHS Trust, amongst other resources. (we were relieved following handover by assets specifically from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and British Army vehicles and personnel from Weeton Camp)
We met up during this incident with great long standing friend of the team and former GMP Missing Person Search Manager / POLSA Ian Crossley, who was out in his new posting / position with the NWUSMU deployed to this same incident.
We would also like to thank the two woman from Blackpool, who deployed with the Salvation Army Catering Unit, and kept those of us at the flooding incident scene at Cable Street, Lancaster, fed and supplied with warm drinks throughout the very wet weather of this early morning incident.
During this incident, and due to the nature of some dynamic events and multiple taskings, mention is made of the great team work all Bolton MRT team members (as is usual) displayed, particularly those members who through circumstance, found themselves on taskings they are not normally involved in, such as Matthew Morris who acted as a link between Lancaster Hospital taskings and our members deployed to do such, and Paul Copley who assisted in our Incident Control Vehicle.
Upon our return back to our Ladybridge Hall Base / HQ four further team members who could not deploy at the time of call out, met their twenty tired colleagues, to help clean and check our vehicles and equipment to ensure all was ready for the next call (Thanks Rasti Schweizer, Mark Scott who though injured attended, Mike Marsh and Martin Banks)
We would like to extend our thanks to Shaun Walton, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, Group Manager, Response and Emergency Planning, who embedded within the Gold Control throughout our involvement in this incident, did much to assist the team with regards to our activities, and information requests during this incident.
Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service tweeted this same day;
@Bolton MRT thanks for helping us out with your boat and other resources in Lancaster. we make a good # Team.