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Storms: Norfolk rescue heroes on standby for aftermath of worst weather in years

PUBLISHED: 06:38 28 October 2013 | UPDATED: 06:38 28 October 2013

On call and ready for the shout, Urban Search and Rescue members of Red Watch(l to r) Scott Field, Duncan Barrow, Steve Halsey and James Little prepare at Dereham fire station for the predicted storm.
PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

On call and ready for the shout, Urban Search and Rescue members of Red Watch(l to r) Scott Field, Duncan Barrow, Steve Halsey and James Little prepare at Dereham fire station for the predicted storm. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Archant Norfolk

An expert team, trained to deal with major emergencies, will come to Norfolk’s aid with predictions of disruption caused by a powerful storm.

St Jude is set to sweep through the region in the early hours of today, which is set to bring trees down, cause damage to buildings and could cause flooding.

Officials from the Norfolk Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) unit slept over at their base in Dereham last night to be able to respond to any incidents this morning.

Ten members of the team are equipped and trained to use chainsaws and have a 4x4 vehicle at their disposal to help clear fallen trees and branches from roads following the storm, which is set to be strongest during the morning rush hour.

Watch manger Duncan Barrow, of the USAR, said the team began preparing for the storms on Saturday.

“We still do not know for definite what the track of the storm will be, but it is prudent to be prepared. The main thing we will be used for is that we have chainsaws here so we can clear windblown trees and we have flood water rescue capabilities,” he said.

The Norfolk USAR is one of 19 teams formed across the country by the government to respond to major incidents following the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre in New York on 11 September 2001. They can be called to anywhere in the country to deal with incidents such as collapsed structures, heavy transport incidents, confined space rescues, wide area searches, rescues from height, and flood response and water rescues.

Mr Barrow added that the USAR unit was part of a national team, but worked closely with officials from Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service.

“We have had some major flooding events, but as far as storms go it is the worst storm for five years and the last one did not affect us much. We have had really good communication from the deputy chief fire officer and chief fire officer throughout the weekend,” he added.

The unit also has a fully trained search dog and are on the national flood deployment register.

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