Lifeboat crewmen on flood rescue squad

From left: Paul Rogers, Peter Needham, Alan Simister
From left: Paul Rogers, Peter Needham, Alan Simister

Three of Eastbourne’s lifeboat crewmen have been on standby over recent weeks in readiness for possible deployment to assist with potential inland flooding.

Paul Rogers, Peter Needham and Alan Simister are part of an elite team and have undergone swift water and flood rescue.

During the floods in 2000, when the towns of Uckfield and Lewes were devastated after the River Ouse burst its banks, teams from local RNLI coastal stations were asked to assist with the rescue and evacuation of people who had become trapped by rising water levels.

Lessons learned during this and other deployments made it clear that operating in fast flowing inland flood water presented the crews with significantly different challenges to those experienced in the open sea.

As a result, the RNLI Flood Rescue Team was formed. Members of the team are selected from existing fully trained lifeboat helmsman who have also undergone specialist training in swift water and flood rescue.

During the recent alerts, two of the three Flood Rescue Team members who are also volunteer crew members at Eastbourne, Paul Rogers and Dave Needham, were deployed to RNLI Divisional Headquarters at Ipswich from where they were sent to Lowestoft to assist with the predicted potentially damaging tidal surge.