Crisis Response Journal


:: Strategic Aims

'The shape of lifesaving to come' - this year's critical event for Category One and Two Emergency Responders

Hurricanes Floyd, Katrina, Rita, widespread flooding in Australia, flash-floods in Central Europe and this year's devastating floods in the UK are all a graphic demonstration of the power of nature and its dramatic impact upon population centres and their inhabitants.

Alongside other agencies, Britain's Fire and Rescue Services (FRS) has attended thousands of incidents and water rescues during the country's devastating floods in June and July 2007. For the first
time a ‘National Flood Advice Support Team ’ was established to provide guidance to individual FRS in relation to water rescue.

Yet even greater vulnerabilities could lie on the horizon, including storm surge such as the one in the North Sea  that affected the Netherlands and the UK in 1953, leaving thousands of people dead in its wake.

In the UK, major flood events of the last few years are prompting
an evaluation of national emergency response. This makes Floodfighters 2007 - announced by the Chief Fire Officers Association in a report this February - all the more pertinent.

Floodfighters 2007 will explore our preparedness for major and extreme flood events and examine what climate change will
bring in the future. It will concentrate upon how to build a focused and effective risk-based response from blue light emergency, local authority and public utility services and will draw upon a wide range of sources, including international information and experience.

Highlights of this conference include Chief Fire Officer Paul Hayden -  Chair of the Fire and Rescue Service Inland Water Strategy Group to CFOA's Operations Committee - who will be examining the future effects of climate change on the rescue services and the CFOA research project that he led.

Floodfighters 2007 will showcase experience from both Europe, the UK and the USA. Other speakers include environmental change scientists, emergency planners, police, public utilities and rescue organisations.

A Water and Flood Management Workshop will be held on October 18 to provide an introduction to the specific knowledge and skills required for operational managers to be able to manage water and flood incidents.

The conference is designed to encourage multi-agency and multi-disciplinary communication, planning and working, and will be of interest to: Police, Fire, Ambulance and Medical Services; Local Authorities; Insurers; Local and Regional Resilience Forums; Emergency Planners; Waterway Managers; Health Boards; Public Utilities; Coastguards; Power Generators; Volunteer Associations; Private Industry.

Floodfighters 2007 is organised by Crisis Response Journal and Lane, Jefferies & Associates Ltd, with the support of CFOA.

Climate change is happening and the pace is quickening; we know that weather and storms can destroy and harm. We have to ask what lessons have we learned, what else are we going to have to face, and will we be ready to save lives?