Page last updated at 09:36 GMT, Wednesday, 22 April 2009 10:36 UK

'Lessons to be learned' on floods

It was the heaviest rainfall in 50 years

An official report into the way the emergency services responded to major floods in Northumberland has highlighted lessons to be learned.

Morpeth, Rothbury and Wooler were badly affected in September 2008 during the heaviest rainfall in 50 years.

The report, commissioned by the Northumbria Local Resilience Forum, called for better communication between the emergency services.

It also highlighted the need to make people aware of the situation quickly.

Brian Hesler, chairman of the forum and chief fire officer for Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service, said the findings were mainly positive, but in such a situation there were always lessons to be learned.

'Not complacent'

"We managed to respond to more than 1,000 calls in the Northumberland area alone over the two days, and rescue nearly 500 people with no loss of life or serious injuries," he said.

"The report doesn't highlight any major failures, however, we are not complacent.

"There are bound to be areas of improvement whenever there's a major incident.

"There were issues around communications between a number of agencies.

"We also need to find a better way of making people aware more quickly."

He added: "The report has been very open, very transparent, and we want the public to be aware of how we are trying to build on past experiences."

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