On the Tuesday 9th and Wednesday 10th April NEWSAR are sending 9 trained Swiftwater Rescue Technicians to “Exercise Berwyn” a multi agency flood exercise in Bala.
NEWSAR SRTs and search managers will join other North Wales Mountain Rescue Association members and 16 further organizations, including North Wales Fire and Rescue, North Wales Police, Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust, Environment Agency Wales and RAF Search and Rescue (to name but a few).
The flood exercise in Bala has been planned to prepare the regions emergency services for times when long periods of rain fall puts communities at risk from flood waters.
North Wales has been hammered by extreme weather in recent months. March saw heavy snow hit the region, causing us to have our Busiest 48 hours in 30 years… Prior to that, however, it was severe flooding that had a serious impact on our communities.
Flood Exercise in Bala… Why?
Last year Welsh communities were devastated by the effects of flood water. Places like St. Asaph and Ruthin, both within NEWSARs area, are still recovering and not everyone is back in their house yet.
The North Wales Fire and Rescue Service published this article that confirms “One in six properties in England and Wales is at risk of flooding”, which is too high a ratio to be ignored.
Setting the scene
Although the exercise is happening in April, the scenario is set in the first week in December.
Everyone of the 17 organisations taking part has been drip fed information. Weather forecasts, flood warnings and calls from residents reporting impassable roads and missing people will all come to a head during the flood exercise in Bala next week.
It’s a huge exercise and as real as it gets. Something that we could never stage on our own.
Our SRTs are coming off the back of a very successful Dee River Festival and they’re keen to be involved in a large scale training exercises like this.
Although we’re a Mountain Rescue team, having the chance to work with all the other agencies will give NEWSAR a chance to show its capabilities away from the hill side.
Rich Brady | Press Liaison Officer
Our trained volunteers will work alongside other NWMRA Swiftwater Rescue Technicians and representatives from Fire and Rescue Services in Wales, North Wales Police, the RNLI, RAF Search and Rescue, Environment Agency Wales, Gwynedd Council, Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust, the RSPCA, Severn Area Rescue Association, Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Automobile Association.
Although our water capabilities are a relatively new addition, our SRTs have been very busy over the last 12 months. They assisted with the search for April Jones in Machynlleth, ensured that flooded houses in St. Asaph had been evacuated by there occupants and, most recently, provided safety cover at The Dee River Festival.