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Fire crews' storm surge training

24 September 09 10:40 GMT

Firefighters from Hereford and Worcester are co-ordinating the UK's role in a European-wide storm surge response exercise.

Many of the crew who travelled to the Netherlands to take part were involved in rescues in the summer of 2007 - the worst flooding in the UK for some time.

Emergency services carried out 7,000 rescues, many of them in Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

Specialist rescue teams from across Europe are taking part in the exercise.

The event is simulating a tidal surge that devastated the UK and Holland in 1953, resulting in over 2,000 deaths.

Sea defences

A spokesman for Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue said the UK came close to a repeat of that disaster in November 2007, when sea defences on parts of the East coast came within centimetres of being overtopped.

Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service directed the national flood rescue response.

Adrian Mayhew, a firefighter from Evesham who worked through the 2007 floods has travelled out to the Netherlands.

"We know it is an exercise, but we are treating it as real. Theoretically, a tidal surge could come in and affect hundreds of thousands of people," he said.

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