Categories: Featured News
Tags: flooding

Firefighters urge government to support flood response following Storm Henk

Share this content


The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has issued a call for urgent government assistance in the wake of the devastation caused by Storm Henk.

The union has emphasized the pressing need for resources to aid the fire service in their efforts to manage widespread flooding across England.

Extent of the devastation

Storm Henk has left large areas of England reeling from its impact, with Nottinghamshire county council declaring a major incident.

The flooding has put a significant strain on the fire services, particularly in areas like Hackney in East London, where emergency response teams have been actively involved in managing the crisis.

Union leaders voice concerns

Matt Wrack, the general secretary of the FBU, highlighted the critical role of firefighters in such emergencies: “When floods threaten people’s homes, lives and livelihoods, it’s firefighters who step in to protect communities.

“Storm Henk follows a winter of storm after devastating storm – and more is to come.

“It’s high time that the government woke up to the realities of the climate emergency.

“Shockingly, fire and rescue services in England still don’t have a statutory duty to plan and respond to floods.

“Instead, we have had more than a decade of cuts, with one in five firefighter jobs lost since 2010.

“The Westminster government must adequately fund the fire service for flood response, so that firefighters have the resources they need to keep the public safe.”

Adam Taylor, an FBU executive council member for the East Midlands, also expressed his concerns: “Firefighters are working in extreme conditions across the Midlands, rescuing people and animals at risk from severe flooding.

“Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire have been hit particularly hard, with the River Trent declared a major incident due to extreme high water levels.

“Fire services in the worst impacted areas are stretched dangerously thin, as we’re seeing in Leicestershire – piling immense pressure on our dedicated firefighters to respond without adequate resources.

“Flooding is on the rise, and we must have the equipment and emergency crews needed to keep people safe. Our services need urgent funding.”

Broader impact of Storm Henk

The storm brought strong winds and rain across the UK, leading to travel disruptions and power outages.

The strongest gusts were recorded on the Isle of Wight, with speeds reaching 94 miles per hour.

The aftermath of the storm necessitated hundreds of flood warnings and alerts, evacuations, and disruptions to road and rail services.

IFSJ Comment

The urgent call from the Fire Brigades Union for government support in the aftermath of Storm Henk underscores the escalating challenges faced by emergency services due to extreme weather events.

The situation not only reflects the immediate impact of such natural disasters but also highlights the longer-term need for strategic planning and resource allocation.

As climate change continues to intensify the frequency and severity of such events, the role of emergency services becomes increasingly critical.

The demand for adequate funding and support from the government is a reminder of the essential role that these services play in safeguarding communities and managing crises.

The effectiveness of their response is contingent upon the availability of resources and a clear mandate, which are currently lacking.

This scenario presents an opportunity for policy makers to reassess and strengthen the support system for emergency services, ensuring they are equipped to handle future challenges efficiently and effectively.

Receive the latest breaking news straight to your inbox