RNLI man joins flood disaster rescue crew
BERWICK lifeboat crewman John Campbell has become part of the RNLI’s International Flood Rescue Team, ready to travel anywhere in the world to assist in flood relief work.
Parts of the UK, of course, have endured their fair share of flooding misery in recent weeks and John has undertaken specialist training to help deal with such situations.
The RNLI Flood Rescue Team comprises lifeboat crew members from all around the country who have been specially trained for the risks involved when working in or around fast moving flood water.
The team was formed in 2000, and now have six divisional teams strategically positioned to respond to a flood anywhere in the UK or Ireland within six hours – a total of 250 team members. Fifty of these team members form the International Flood Rescue Team who can be deployed anywhere in the world within 24 hours.
John, deputy second coxswain and helmsman at Berwick RNLI and a team leader at Torness power station, said: “I would like to say a big thank you to EDF Energy Torness for allowing me to go anywhere at short notice. They see this as helping not only the local community but the worldwide community.”
He also has a very supporting wife, Sarah and two sons, Alexander and Edward, who understand that John may sometimes be required to attend an emergency in all parts of the world.
The work these volunteers do as part of the Flood Rescue Team is very different to their RNLI sea rescue role, so specialist training is essential. They are all experienced lifeboat crew, but the situations and environments they may find themselves in during inland flooding are very different to those they encounter during sea rescues. Regular training exercises are vital to ensure team members can work safely and effectively in the unfamiliar terrain and diverse, high-risk environment of flood-affected areas.
It is a prerequisite that all team members are competent crew from stations around the UK and Ireland. They are then given additional training to become floodwater rescue technicians and flood water rescue boat operators.
They have additional skills for working overseas, including previous experience in developing countries and disaster zones, as well as specific skills such as being a doctor, paramedic, linguist or mechanic. They also have all necessary vaccinations to enable them to deploy at a moment’s notice.
The team does not receive government funding for responding to UK floods but the cost of international deployment is borne by the UK Department for International Development.
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Weather for Berwick-Upon-Tweed
Monday 20 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 7 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: North