Here's how many injuries were caused by floods and water incidents in Hertfordshire last year

The Fire Brigades Union has called on the Government to boost firefighters' resources for such incidents

Wednesday, 3rd February 2021, 3:23 pm

Hertfordshire saw two injuries caused by flooding and other water emergencies last year, new figures show.

The Fire Brigades Union said the effects of climate change mean it is "no surprise" that flood injuries hit a record high across England, as it called on the Government to boost firefighters' resources for such incidents.

Home Office figures show there were two injuries in incidents where firefighters were called to flooding or water emergencies in Hertfordshire in 2019-20 – though there were no deaths.

The photo has been used for illustration purposes

This was down from 11 injuries in 2018-19.

Figures reveal that both of last year's incidents were hospitalisations – two categorised as a slight injury, and none as severe.

Across England, there were 111 deaths, 274 hospitalisations and 422 injuries overall – all of which were the highest on record.

Of the 17,505 flooding incidents last year, 13% occurred in February, when Storms Dennis and Ciara brought the wettest conditions for the month since records began in England and Wales.

The FBU said it was "long past time" the Government gave fire crews in England a statutory duty to respond to flooding – as is already the case in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

This would ensure that flood risks were fully assessed, and the necessary resources made available to tackling major flooding, it argues.

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “Last winter saw firefighters respond to two major bouts of devastating flooding and it’s sadly no surprise that flood deaths, injuries, and hospitalisations all reached record highs.

“The Government needs to recognise that these incidents are only becoming more frequent and more damaging with climate change – just as, at the other end of the scale, hotter, drier summers fuel ever larger wildfires in the UK.

“Moreover, we need a total reshaping of our economy to drive down carbon emissions and prevent further flooding disasters – but that must go hand in hand with funding and resources for the firefighters on the frontline of the climate emergency.”

A Government spokeswoman said the vast majority of fatalities and casualties come from water and rescue incidents, such as lakes and rivers, not flooding.

She added: “Our condolences go to anyone who has lost a loved one in these tragic circumstances.

“Fire and rescue services are always ready to respond when people get into difficulty in water, and people should stay away from swollen rivers, take care by the coast, and always follow the advice of the emergency services during flooding.”

The Home Office figures also show there were a total of 52 fatalities in non-fire incidents recorded by the Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service in 2019-20.

Of those, 26 were recorded in incidents where the fire service was assisting another agency, and four while helping another emergency service gaining access to a property.

A further six were deaths by suicide, and 12 in car accidents.