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Glossop Plays Part in Cumbria Flood Relief
Tuesday 15th December 2015 @ 12:24 by Tom Greggan

Glossop’s Swift Water Rescue Unit raced from supporting Santa to saving lives as the flood crisis in Cumbria became critical.

Glossop Mountain Rescue Team was busy raising badly needed funds with their Father Christmas float when the call to Cumbria came in.

Within minutes four members were travelling through Saturday afternoon’s wild weather in the team’s Land Rover to search and rescue headquarters at Penrith fire station.

It turned out to be the start of a massive operation which saw Glossop Mountain Rescue providing an unbroken 48 hours emergency cover.

Glossop’s water rescue skilled volunteers were joined in Penrith by colleagues from Kinder, Woodhead, Edale and Derby.

It became a combined Peak District team which operated as a water rescue unit throughout the two day operation.

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Team member David Morgan, who was part of the Glossop response, said: “The team was put into operation on Saturday evening responding to a number of flooding incidents in the Penrith area.

“After a short break it was requested around midnight to relocate personnel and equipment to Carlisle.
“Under blue light escort, the team attended the city centre where the River Eden had burst through the recently built flood defences causing rising flood levels.

“On arrival, the team went into action, immediately responding to calls for help to evacuate residents from their flooded homes and other locals still out and about but becoming surrounded by the rising flood water,” he added.

The team managed to snatch a few hours rest, but as dawn broke, it was sent to begin the mass evacuation of a heavily flooded residential area near to the Brunton Park home of Carlisle United.

David said rescuers were kept busy as shocked residents woke to see the extent of the flooding and the depth of water in their houses.

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Working methodically they checked door-to-door, street-to- street, searching for vulnerable people who needed immediate evacuation, ensuring those who wanted to stay in their homes had sufficient food, water and blankets to remain safe and trying where possible to confirm that, in houses where there was no response, the residents had already left.

Valley Mountain Rescue Team and rescue team members from Wales, the Glossop team evacuated a 91-year-old woman from her flat along with a pregnant woman and her partner.

At lunchtime, as the flood waters were still rising, power boats from the RNLI and RSPCA were deployed to attend locations the mountain rescue teams couldn’t reach.

As the Glossop team left the area they helped an elderly woman who had started to become hypothermic. They used self heating insulated blanket panels specifically bought for hypothermic casualties.

The team returned to base more than 24 hours after first getting the call for help, arriving in Glossop at 4.30pm, followed by two hours of cleaning and decontaminating the kit used.

As the initial team returned to Glossop, another three Glossop Mountain Rescue Team members interrupted a water rescue training weekend to head to Cumbria to work with rescuers from Water Safe UK.

They continued to search for and evacuate people in flooded parts of Carlisle overnight and through Monday before returning home on Monday evening.

This second team meant that Glossop MRT had provided an unbroken 48 hour presence in the area.

David said the team was overwhelmed by the gratitude and appreciation of all the people rescued.

He added: “The team’s Facebook page was updated as opportunities arose and are grateful for all of the inspiring messages of support received.

“Of course, the Glossop team’s response was only possible due to the ongoing support of the people of Glossop.”