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Success for NFRS staff tackling flooding exercise

A number of agencies are shown taking part in Operation Puddleduck

Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service have held a five day emergency exercise designed to test their response to a major incident.

Exercise Puddle Duck brought together a wide variety of agencies to take part in the five-day simulation based on the scenario of widespread flooding at Billing Aquadrome.

Matt Butler taking part in Operation Puddleduck

Forty-five staff from Northamptonshire Police, East Midlands Ambulance Service, the Local Resilience Forum and Emergency Planning, the Environment Agency, Northamptonshire Search and Rescue and the Rapid Relief Team took part in the exercise that was designed to improve the preparedness of the Fire Service and enhance the way that agencies work together.


The exercise, which took place in real time and came as a surprise to the participants, mimicked the flooding that took place at Billing Aquadrome in December 2020 when a major incident was declared. The exercise was planned to test the plans that have been revised to enhance response capability across the county as a result.

Firefighters take part in Operation Puddleduck, including Nick Gayton (right)

Station Commander for the Joint Operations Team, Nick Gayton (pictured above), said: “We have run no-notice exercises before but usually only for a period of hours. It has been massively important because it has stress tested both the operational response and also lots of other departments across the service, including our Prevention and Protection teams.

The Joint Command Unit (JCU), pictured here during Operation Puddleduck, is used by both police and fire staff during a multi-agency exercise

“Flooding is a known risk in the county so as a Service, we have responses to deal with that and so do our partners. Exercises like this help us to develop our multi-agency approach.

“I would like to thank all of the people who took part in the exercise and reassure the public that we work tirelessly to ensure our response is the best it can be.”

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