As stated there are plenty of people working 12-14 hour shifts (though officially they are not supposed to be doing anything more than 8 hours on, 8 hours off) and after a while they will need to be replaced. First they will be replaced by Emergency Services, Council and Environment Agency workers from other areas and then by the Armed Forces when those resources get overstretched.
The situation is at the moment that military assistance has been needed only in a couple of cases, where we have needed a lot of bodies on the ground quickly, to help defend a vital bit of civic infrastructure; to distribute humanitarian supplies and to rescue by air any poor sods who have been stranded or washed away. If the rain keeps on coming for a few more weeks, expect to see a lot more service people involved.
Though I would be surprised if the RNR is asked to lend a hand first, but their time may come. The problem isnt so much providing the man power to do whats needed at the moment, its keeping it up for a long period.
Below is the crisis management structure that's in use. Once the crisis management structure has been set up, the Police will downgrade to only leading on their particular areas of expertise. The Fire & Rescue Service, the Environment Agency, the District Councils and the Utilities are all responsible for leading on their own particular bits (Matrix management is quite common in the civil services). All the various bits of civil services are (as far as I am aware) entitled to ask at the meetings for the military to help with their particular bit.
During a major incident it is essential to make sure that there is an effective Crisis Management structure in place in order to help ensure an effective response. A well recognised and understood structure is used in these situations. This consists of three levels, each with a specific function:
Strategic / Gold
The Gold Group comprises mainly Chief Officers of the relevant organisations and will normally be formed in a specific Emergency Centre that is designated before, or at the start of an incident. Generally, the Police will have the initial lead in incidents. The main role of the Gold group is to formulate the strategy for response.
Tactical / Silver
The Tactical / Silver group will normally be situated close to the scene. Its role is to provide a tactical response that will see the strategy of the Gold group implemented effectively. To this end it will direct the activities of the operational staff level. The Silver group will also regularly liaise with the Gold group in order to make sure that the strategic response is effective. Silver also controls the resources provided by the various agencies and act as the main liaison between central Government departments and the responding agencies.
Operational / Bronze
The Operational / Bronze Group controls and deploys resources on the scene, in a specific role and location. There may be a number of separate Bronze Groups in operation, depending upon the size of the incident and the specific nature of the emergency, in order to fulfil the tactical and strategic response effectively.
Any of you that listen to Radio 4 may have heard the discussion between a Tory peer and a defence pundit about the fact that the Army has no dedicated reserve for use in Civil Emergencies, instead having to provide it under a contingency that regular troops are available (not deployed elsewhere) when needed.
It is little wonder that even those in Parliament believe that we don't exist if we are not seen to be being used. Also when you have a reserve that is not used, it won't matter if funding is cut or removed altogether.
According to the Beeb the high tide this morning has breached some of the flood defences, though at least with tidal surges the water goes away reasonably quickly unlike the river floods earlier this year.
You must be joking, I have a Parade on Sunday to worry about! (Tongue firmly in cheek.)
Well lets hope not. Funny how we seem to be relying on hope an awful lot.
Film of the front at Lowerstoft this morning was entertaining, but not that serious. Thames flood barrier being raised as I type.
Back to my first point. The parade in a large port city somewhere in the North West of England is on one of the highest points of the City. If any other big parades get flooded out because they are just one block away from a large river you could always come to us. We might even arrainge for the poppy dropping C 47 to make a second pass to drop food parcels.