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Monday, 28 July 2014

Rescue teams prepare to save lives in extreme floods

RESCUE teams joined together to train for extreme floods.

Four mountain rescue teams took part in swift water rescue training exercises on the River Leven to help improve the way teams deal with emergencies.

Two years on from the devastating floods which hit Cumbria, Duddon and Furness, Langdale and Ambleside, Kendal and Coniston mountain rescue teams took part in the exercise.

During the training, members rescued each other from rocks and practiced throwing lines to save people floating down the middle of the river. The teams used a number of different exercises including river rescues – but no boats were used.

Mike Margeson, of Duddon and Furness MR Team, said: “It was the first time we had all four teams together. We need to be able to work in an integrated way.

“The water conditions were good – there was a lot of water in the Leven, so we were very pleased.

“We now have over 70 swift water rescuers in Cumbria, so we have a really good resource should any major incidents occur.”

Following the 2009 floods, mountain rescue teams in Cumbria were given around £3,500 each towards training and equipment.

Two years ago, Backbarrow was among a number of communities which suffered flood damage.

Residents were forced to evacuate after downpours swelled the River Leven and Windermere.

Mr Margeson said: “We need to have the right equipment and the right training. Swift water can be very hazardous.”

“It takes practice. So we decided to do the training sessions together again and to do them regularly.”

A recent study from the University of Reading has claimed storm air combined with a weather event known as an ‘atmospheric river’ could have triggered the 2009 Cumbria floods.

The study suggests a storm system in another part of the globe funnelled the giant ribbon of moist air towards the UK ahead of the disaster.

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