Praise for flood rescuers

Flooding at Peebles photographed by Jim Barton
Flooding at Peebles photographed by Jim Barton

Firefighters have been praised after responding to a number of incidents as heavy rain struck various areas in the East Service Delivery Area over the festive period.

Head of Service Delivery in the East, Deputy Assistant Chief Officer John Miller, said: “Operational crews and Control personnel have worked extremely hard over what has been a period of intense activity for the emergency services. Most incidents were resolved quickly and on occasions through a coordinated multi-agency response.

“Measures were taken to ensure we always had sufficient resources to respond wherever they were needed. We remain fully prepared to protect communities throughout these areas during this period of difficult weather and will continue to respond wherever we are needed.

“In this type of weather I would urge people to follow advice issued by Flood Line Scotland, our Police Scotland colleagues and by Transport Scotland, which will help them stay safe and avoid running into difficulty on the roads.”

The East area, particularly Peebles and the Borders have been devastated by flooding since 26 December last year and crews have been working around the clock to provide assistance to people across these areas.

Three people had to be rescued from a Borders river on Boxing Day as flooding returned to the region and a further three had to be rescued after their car became trapped by another Tweed tributary which had burst its banks.

A woman fell into the Lyne Water near Romanno Bridge in Peeblesshire and two men who attempted to rescue her also became trapped in the rapidly rising river. All three were swept downstream around 200 metres before they were eventually rescued by fire crews from West Linton and Peebles backed up by specialist water rescue teams from Glasgow and Edinburgh. These crews had to work in the most challenging conditions.

The rescued woman was taken to hospital by ambulance suffering from hypothermia and shock. Both men, who were checked at the scene by ambulance personnel but didn’t require any further treatment

In Peebles, river levels rose higher than experienced since 1994 prompting a multi-agency response involving Scottish Fire and Rescue, Police Scotland, Scottish Ambulance Service and RNLI, the Mountain Rescue and local authority emergency planning officers.

A spokesperson for SFRS said: “We had 66 firefighters in attendance at the incident on 30 December and four specialist water rescue teams using boats to rescue persons trapped in their homes and cars. Six people were rescued by our specialist water team using these boats.

“We also mobilised a specialist Urban Search and Rescue team to a care home in Peebles. They were sent as a precaution because water was flowing through parts of the care home.

“There were 25 people rescued from the care home. Apart from the care home, we rescued 15 other people, five dogs and one cat.”