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Flooding in Lowestoft - we were ready...
written by Alerter - the firefighters blog on the 15th January 2017 at 14:51

It didn't bode well that the predicted flooding in Lowestoft and along the East Coast was scheduled for Friday 13th.

The previous day we were asked for volunteers to crew our pump as part of the Fire Service response to any flooding in the North of Lowestoft.

Plans were already underway in Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex to draft in additional resources from other Fire and Rescue Services across the country as part of the National Resilience capability.

Our first stint on standby at North Lowestoft Fire Station ran from 0800-1200 on Friday to cover the first high tide of the day. We were joined by a water rescue team made up of off-duty wholetime firefighters from Lowestoft South Fire Station.

A similar set up was in force south of the river with the duty watch providing another water rescue team with support from the on call firefighters at Lowestoft South.

The morning's high tide passed without incident and we headed home to grab some grub and wait till we were next required at 1800 hours.

The evening high tide, at 2145, would be higher than the earlier one with the added factor of a strengthening wind. This was the one that was causing most concern.

As the day progressed more and more water rescue teams and their support crews were arriving at holding points in Suffolk to await orders on where they would be positioned for the high tide.

When we arrived on station we found out that we would be joined by the Water Rescue Unit and Command Support Unit from Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service (WRU from Fareham and CSU from Eastleigh).

The guys looked a tad shell-shocked to be this far 'up North' but soon settled in, waiting for the call.

Newmarket took the two hour drive to Lowestoft to provide fire cover in the North of the town as we would be providing support to our own water rescue team.

And not to forget two volunteers from 4x4 Response - at the disposal of the emergency services to ferry people through flooding.

Our little one pump station played host to around 30 people (not forgetting our Ambulance Service colleagues). Every chair was taken, floor spaces were littered with equipment and people and the air was filled with chatter and plenty of banter - wouldn't be the Fire Service without the banter...

Just before high tide was due we led a small procession of vehicles into town to the now closed Bascule bridge and down Commercial Road. We were giving the Hampshire guys a tour of likely locations they'd be working in and it gave us a chance to inspect the water level.

Then down to the Wherry and Mutford Lock before heading back to the warm fug of Lowestoft North.

In the end, with the wind having died down, there was no flooding in Lowestoft for us to deal with. Good result.

It's a shame to see some people say that it was a bit overkill of all the emergency services. Maybe. But I don't think so.

On the best available predictions flooding was imminent. But the weather, and us Brits do like the weather, changed. The wind slackened off and flooding was averted by a matter of inches.

Our crews were ready, suited and booted, to be deployed immediately. We would have been on scene in Lowestoft within minutes, ready to get to work.

Not days. Not hours. But minutes.

Far better to have all those resources in place and prepared than to be on the back foot playing catch up.

A big thank you to Hampshire, East Sussex, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, West Mids and all our other Fire Service colleagues for being there for Lowestoft and all along the Suffolk coast.






 Originally posted at

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