Can Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service cope with increase in extreme weather?
With a month’s rain falling in just 12 hours one day this week, Warwickshire’s leading fireman has been asked if the service can cope with the increasing amount of extreme weather.
Cllr Bill Olner (Lab Nuneaton Abbey) raised the matter at this week’s (Thursday September 26) meeting of the resources and fire and rescue overview and scrutiny committee at Warwickshire County Council.
He asked: “I am mindful of the awful weather which happened over the weekend. I would imagine that fire and rescue now, in these sorts of extreme weather we are getting, is not so much about putting fires out but keeping water out of properties.
“Have we got the resilience to cope with that because the incidents are going to go up and not down?”
In a report to the meeting, figures showed that Warwickshire Fire Service had attended 3,914 incidents in the 12 months to April - a 12 per cent increase on the previous year and nearly 30 per cent above the target number.
And Chief Fire Officer Kieran Amos explained that the weather had played a key role in inflating those numbers.
Mr Amos said: “The reason for the increase last year so not so much about the adverse weather but about a particularly hot spell in July.
“The point made is a very valid one and it is why we maintain our competencies around all the things including adverse weather and flood response and we have had some very good investment in our training facilities just recently.
“In terms of resilience it is always a challenge. Section 13-16 of the Fire and Rescue Services Act allows mutual aid from other services which means we can draw upon that to augment our own service in Warwickshire.”
Cllr David Reilly (Con Coleshill North and Water Orton) praised some of the work undertaken by the county council’s own flood specialists.
He said: “We have an absolute first class flood team who are really proactive ln managing flood risks to every vulnerable property in the county. There is some fantastic work going on around protecting vulnerable property both commercial and residential across the whole county.”