IT WAS apposite that the Prince of Wales found the time during his visit to flood-hit Fishlake to meet those firefighters from South Yorkshire who assisted with the rescue effort.
He knows that the threat to local residents would have been even greater without their assistance evacuating residents and then pumping water out of flooded properties.
And they’re not alone. It was the same last summer when the Yorkshire Dales was hit by a devastating deluge – firefighters were answering 999 calls while their own fire station in Leyburn was being left submerged by rapidly rising water.
Yet, while firefighters regard such work as part of their responsibilities, the Government has still to acknowledge the importance of such work – and how it should help to inform future funding decisions.
It should do. As this newspaper continues to challenge Ministers, and others, to learn lessons from the River Don floods, the critical role of firefighters needs to be part of this review.
As such, Ministers are duty-bound to respond to the genuine concerns of the Fire Brigades Union about training, equipment and resources when it comes to responding to floods – many will be surprised by this criticism when the expectation, from politicians and others, is that crews will risk their safety to help others.
After all, the clue is in the name. Local areas no longer have their own fire service. They have a fire and rescue service – and the skills needed for responding to floods can be very different to those that are required when a fire breaks out.