LOCAL firefighters have been deployed to help with severe flooding in the south of the country.
Five crew members from the Green and Blue watches at Peterlee Fire Station have taken their high volume pump –(HVP) – which covers the whole of County Durham – to London, where 14 severe flood warnings are in place along a 10-mile stretch of the Thames
Watch manager Ray Sillito has also been sent to help provide support in Somerset, which continues to suffer the brunt of the rising water levels, which began there in December, affecting more than 5,000 homes.
In the early hours of yesterday morning, the HVP travelled from East Durham to a base in Barnet and was on stand-by to help relieve firefighters in the London area.
The local crew members who have been sent to help are crew managers Neil Hartley and John Livingstone and firefighters Gary Greenwood, Adam Gunton and Hartlepool lad Micky Hopper.
Fire chiefs say there are 19 HPVs from across the country deployed to southern counties, but the National Co-ordination Centre has accounted for sufficient cover in other parts of the country if needed.
A spokeswoman for County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service said: “The National Co-ordination Centre requested the HVP on Tuesday night and it has gone to provide strategic cover move in Barnet.
“On Wednesday morning we had an additional request for a tactical advisor and Ray Sillito was requested to go to the strategic holding area at Taunton Deane on the M5 in Somerset.
“They were advised they will be there until at least Saturday.”
Robin Turnbull, group manager for the fire and rescue service assured: “The National Co-ordination Centre is keen to find the balance between national risk and local and regional risk and there are resources still in our area.
“The personnel from County Durham travelled down through the night and had a briefing yesterday morning before being deployed.”
The station’s HPV can pump up to 8,000 litres of water a minute and has two 9,000ft hose reels.
If it was needed locally, the Durham fire service would use a neighbouring brigade’s HPV. It has been used in other incidents including in Carlisle and Humberside.