Holy Island Parish Council has published a summary of procedure to be adopted by Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service for incidents on Lindisfarne.
During the parish council meeting in December, it was agreed that councillors would meet Sir Alan Beith MP, Northumberland County Councillor Dougie Watkin, and senior fire officers from the Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service.
The meeting was held on March 7and various options to improve response times were discussed and are still being investigated.
In the meantime, the current procedure is as follows:
Low Tide (Safe crossing time)
If an incident occurs on Holy Island during the safe crossing time, fire appliances from the mainland will proceed to the Island via the causeway. It is understood that the safe crossing times indicated on the published tide tables are generous and safe crossing may be possible beyond these times. There may be occasions when high tide does not reach the causeway and other occasions when the causeway is only covered by the tide for a few hours. The incident commander at the causeway will assess the risk and consult with the Coast Guard. Every opportunity to take advantage of a low tide situation outside the safe tide times will be taken to ensure that fire appliances from the mainland reach an incident on the Island.
In the event of the causeway being impassable due to the tide, one of the following procedures will be adopted.
An RAF helicopter will be requested to transport fire crews from the causeway at Beal to a designated landing site on the Island. Fire appliances will be sent to the causeway at Beal to meet the helicopter. The Coast Guard will meet the helicopter when it arrives on the Island and transport the fire crew to the fire station where a fire appliance is garaged. The fire crews will proceed to the incident in the fire appliance. If the RAF helicopter is unavailable the Police helicopter should be considered; the number of personnel and items of equipment capable of being transported on the Police helicopter is reduced.
If a helicopter is not available fire appliances will be sent to the harbours at Seahouses and Berwick to meet the all-weather lifeboat. The fire crews will be transported by lifeboat to the harbour at Holy Island. The Coast Guard will meet the lifeboat and transport the fire crews to the fire station. The fire crews will proceed to the incident in the fire appliance.