Special operations team to the rescue

AA taskforce assists emergency services

AA assists a flood-stricken motorist

Last week, our Special Operations Response Team and their flood-busting Land Rovers supported emergency services in West Berkshire, helping to reassure flood-hit residents, recover vehicles affected by water, and monitor flood and groundwater levels.

Ian Hemstock, Water Incident Manager, explains: “Thanks to our specialist training, and our all-terrain Land Rovers, our team can reach the parts that other motoring organisations can’t.

“Crew members are certified as Swiftwater Rescue Technicians and train to DEFRA standards, which enables multi-agency work with the fire service and other flood responders. This gives us access to flood-hit areas that are closed to the public and other breakdown providers.”

Ian Hemstock

Ian Hemstock

On 13 February, the Royal Berkshire Fire & Rescue Service called on the AA to provide a boat team and two Land Rovers. Their challenge? To assist throughout Berkshire, reassuring residents, recovering cars, and even keeping the fire and rescue vehicles on the road.

Darron Burness – AA Operations Manager and Water Incident Manager – was holed up in the control room at Silver Command liaising with his crew on the ground.

Ian explains: “Our vehicles relayed live footage to the control room where Darron worked with key decision makers from the fire and police services, the military, the local authority and the Environment Agency. Our feed gave them an invaluable guide to the ever-changing situation on the ground.”

Once the boat team completed four days of support, it was down to Ian to take over in the control room, liaising with a single-crewed CCTV Land Rover on the ground for a further five days.

Ian adds: “It’s great being able to support the emergency services in times like these, and really make a difference in these challenging circumstances.”


27 February 2014