Flood Response: REACT's Training Weekend Turns Operational

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Posted by Laura Butlin 15th April 2024 News

Estimated Reading Time: 2 mins

Facing the unpredictable challenges posed by flooding in the UK, REACT continually refines and enhances the capabilities of its volunteers through rigorous training and real-world application. During a recent training weekend in North Wales, what was scheduled as a continuous professional development (CPD) session swiftly transitioned into a live rescue operation, exemplifying the dynamic nature of REACT’s operational readiness.

A Training Session Evolves

During routine training focused on defensive and aggressive swimming and riverbank rescues, REACT’s Water and Flood Operations Lead, Richard Hood, reported an unforeseen turn of events. Local police, searching for an unconfirmed missing person along the riverbank, engaged the REACT team. The training, kindly supported by BAE Systems, swiftly transformed into a live search operation, allowing volunteers to apply their freshly honed skills in real-time. The team conducted an extensive search, covering 200 meters in both directions along the riverbank, ultimately confirming the absence of any distressed individuals.

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Comprehensive Flood Response Training

The weekend’s activities were part of the DEFRA Module 2 – Water and Flood First Responder CPD, an essential component in maintaining the competency of REACT’s flood response teams. This module encompasses a variety of critical skills:

  • Hydrology and Hazard Identification: Understanding water flow and recognising hazards such as stoppers and in-water obstacles.
  • Incident Management: Managing water rescue scenes and conducting dynamic risk assessments.
  • Practical Skills Development: Techniques for shallow water movement, basic boat handling, and rope work are essential for effective response.

Participants are also trained in essential first aid, casualty management, and using specialised rescue equipment, ensuring they are well-prepared to support not only direct rescue efforts but also provide crucial support in the aftermath of flooding incidents.

Real-World Application and Community Impact

The impromptu operation during the training weekend is a testament to the effectiveness of REACT’s training regimen and its direct applicability to real-life scenarios. It also highlights the seamless integration of trained volunteers into broader emergency response frameworks, working alongside local authorities to enhance community safety and resilience.

REACT’s proactive approach to training and its emphasis on real-world applications prepare its volunteers to face the challenges of flooding and adapt swiftly to emergent situations. These exercises reinforce the skills necessary for rapid deployment and efficient action in crises.

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Forward-Looking: Enhancing Capabilities and Community Engagement

Looking ahead, REACT continues advancing its training initiatives, incorporating feedback from planned exercises and unplanned deployments into its curriculum. This iterative process ensures that training remains relevant, practical, and reflective of the challenges encountered in the field. 

In the landscape of UK disaster response, REACT’s commitment to continuous professional development and its ability to adapt training to real-world challenges stand out. This not only enhances the capabilities of individual volunteers but also strengthens the overall resilience of communities against the increasing threat of flooding. Through rigorous training and a proactive stance, REACT sets new standards in disaster preparedness and response, underscoring the critical role of trained volunteer Responders in contemporary emergency management frameworks.