REPORT FROM RRT TEAM LEADER
Following a long period of low pressure, the Environment Agency issued their flood risk forecast at 0955 14th February – Dorset Coastline – HIGH RISK, due to a combination of large waves, high tides and gale force on-shore winds. At 1630 it was declared a major incident
1730 Dorset County Council released a statement – Severe flood warning at Christchurch Harbour during the storm with 70-80mph winds, expected at Mudeford, Stanpit and Wick with high tide waters between 1900 hours and 0300 hours (15th February)
Around 2100 hours Christchurch Quay was wholly submerged, floodwater was flowing along a number of streets in the Town Centre backing on the QuayBournemouth RRT received a call for assistance from The DCC Civil Contingency Emergency Planning Team at 1850 hours, mobilisation commenced.
The Gymnasium was converted to a temporary Command Centre at The Grange School approx one mile inland. This included Cat 1 responders DorPol, DFRS, DCC Social Services, Christchurch & East Dorset Borough Council, 4×4 Response and 12 troops from Bovington Camp lead by a Sergeant Major
The RRT team arrived in force from 2050 hours onwards. We received a debrief from the Emergency Planning Team Officers as to the current situation. Around 50 police officers were out door knocking on coastal facing properties with an urgent notice to evacuate
RRT were given a map of the four expected flooding zone areas (in green) with the 150 property addresses by Dorset Police.
Around 2130 hours, RRT were asked to visit numerous coastal properties. 6 RRT voluteers set off to Christchurch Civic offices in 4×4’s to collect sandbags.
Dorset Police updated RRT at the Command Centre with properties calling for sandbag assistance; this was relayed to the sand bagging team. 12 troops were now involved collecting, distributing and placing sandbags in the affected areas
With a likelihood of deployment until noon 15th February, RRT set up serving facilities with snack food, chocolate, energy drinks, hot and cold drinks, soup and hot dogs in the main hall.
Various Cat 1 responders were arriving and departing from the temporary Bronze Command Centre on shift patrol, floodwater watch, road closures, and downed trees duties.
At 2300 the complete sand bag stock had been used! The second high tide was to peak around 2345 hours, there was not time to obtain further sand; teams had done their best to avert devastation to numerous properties. Around 0200 hrs 15.02.14 we were instructed to stand down.
Note of thanks as below from the police:
As the Dorset Police Silver Commander for the adverse weather that we have encountered throughout Dorset in the last few weeks, I simply wanted to sincerely thank you for the excellent response that you have given to our local communities and the emergency services.
I am aware that you have deployed to a number of incidents throughout the county and the feedback that has been received from your deployments has been first-class.
Could I please ask that you forward these thanks to each and every one of your individual team members.
With warmest regards