Crews brave ice for rescue practise near King’s Lynn

With temperatures barely above freezing, it wasn't the ideal time for a swim in the Relief Channel.

But it was all in a day's work for the county's fire service when someone needs rescuing from the water.

The urban search and rescue team joined forces with the Environment Agency for an exercise on the Relief Channel.

One team member got very wet indeed as he went overboard several times, to simulate a member of the public in difficulty.

But it was all in a good cause as his colleagues were practising their rescue techniques in pulling someone out of the icy water.

Both the Environment Agency and the fire service have to deal with rescuing people from water and yesterday's exercise allowed both agencies to reconstruct situations where they may be called out.

'Practising water rescues with the fire service in this way willhelp us to work even better together in a real emergency,' said Alan Daniels, team leader for the Environment Agency.

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'King's Lynn not only has a lot of water around it that people could fall into from a boat or a bank, but this area is at risk of serious flooding from the sea.

'We want to make sure that if ever we do get real problems here, we are prepared.'

John Linden, watch manager for the urban search and rescue service based at Wymondham, said the county's fire service was trained and equipped to help in both flood or water-based rescues, as well as fighting fires.

With four boats based around the county, and the number to rise to five with a second earmarked for Lynn, the team not only helps in Norfolk rescues but can be called upon to help colleagues in other parts of the country.

The teams were on standby earlier this month when floodwaters caused problems in Essex, although they were eventually not needed to attend.