Aston-based firefighters and equipment sent to flooded communities

FIREFIGHTERS have taken their most powerful piece of pumping equipment to assist emergency services battling once-in-a-generation flooding in Somerset.

Six firefighters travelled down to Taunton over the weekend, taking with them a High Volume Pump (HVP).

South Yorkshire's firefighters, most of whom are normally based at Aston Park fire station, will work in eight hour shifts for a minimum of seven days.

Much of Somerset is still under water and further heavy rain is forecast in the coming days.

HVPs are capable of moving huge volumes of water, and South Yorkshire's is capable of pumping 8,000 litres of water a minute.

Specialist vehicles and equipment like HVPs are regarded as national assets and the request to use South Yorkshire's came from Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue on Saturday.

Station Manager Shayne Tottie, who is leading the team, said: “We are looking forward to providing important practical and strategic support to our colleagues in Devon and Somerset.

“The HVP is an extremely powerful piece of kit and is ideally suited to helping to deal with the quantities of water we are talking about in Somerset right now.

“We are awaiting our next tactical briefing on where we will be utilised first, but firefighters are like one big family, and needless to say we will be happy to assist wherever we are needed.”

Senior officers agreed to make their resources available after ensuring they were satisfied with the fire and rescue provision which remains available for local people in South Yorkshire.