Flood rescue training prepares fire crews for emergency callouts this winter

Video report by ITV News Meridian's Juliette Fletcher

Fire crews in Oxfordshire have taken part in a flooding rescue exercise to prepare them for similar emergency callouts this winter.

A rise in global temperatures means stormy weather and torrential rain is becoming more frequent, leading to emergency services dealing with more flooding callouts.

In February this year, there was widespread flooding across Berkshire and Oxfordshire with many properties flooded.

A special facility in Wallingford enables crews to create scenarios they may encounter at times of heavy rainfall, in a safe and controlled location.

Crews can easily simulate a driver marooned in cold floodwater with a fast moving current.

The facility allows crews to simulate rescuing a driver trapped in floodwater Credit: ITV News Meridian

Julian Frank, Training Centre Manager said: "The important message that we are trying to get across is if you drive in flood conditions and you come across a puddle or large area of water, and you don't know how deep or fast moving the water is, then don't enter it in your vehicle.

"What we are going to simulate is for people that haven't taken that on board.

"They've got stuck in a large puddle or flooded area or ford and we are going to send our crews in to get them safely out of their cars."

Crews from Oxfordshire Fire & Rescue are also learning how difficult it is to rescue yourself in flowing water if you fall in, especially when hyperthermia can quickly set in.

Crews practice rescuing themselves in case they fall into floodwater Credit: ITV News Meridian

David Todd, Labortory manager, HR Wallingford said: "This is a large basin area, kind of like a very large swimming pool, but we can generate fast currents, large waves in there which allows us to customise the set up for the fire and rescue service to provide them with the training opportunities that they need."

Robert MacDougall, Director of Community Safety & Chief Fire Officer said: "As a fire and rescue service we have to make sure we understand the risks in our community and as everyone knows the risk of flooding is getting greater and greater so we have to make sure we are able to respond to the type of emergencies we might face in Oxfordshire.

"This a really good example, by developing our training and by working with our partners we make sure we're fit and ready to respond to the incidents we might face."

The official advice is to respect the water and stay away from a flood.

If someone is in trouble call 999 and the specially-trained crews will be there to help.