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Cambridgeshire and Suffolk joint fire control shows its worth during storm Babet

Heavy downpours on Friday (20) caused by Storm Babet saw Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service’s (CFRS) Combined Fire Control to see their busiest 24 hours on record.

The Service’s Combined Fire Control Room is a joint control room with Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service – responding to 999 calls from both counties. Over 1500 calls were received in a 24 hour period – exceeding that of the summer heatwave fires of July 2022.

While Cambridgeshire saw flood alerts issued across the county, with several areas affected, it was Suffolk that saw the most severe effects of the storm.

Incidents included pumping water from buildings, rescuing people from cars where there was a risk to life, as well as rescuing residents from their homes.

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service Chief Fire Officer Chris Strickland has praised the hard work of colleagues during the peak period.

He said: "The storm arrived on Friday, and continued into the weekend, and much of the country was affected by significant rainfall and subsequent flooding.


“It meant our Combined Fire Control Room faced significant challenges with an increased call volume, more than they have ever experienced before. It pushed them to their limits handing over 1500 calls in 24 hours, and creating over 640 incidents.


“Everyone has demonstrated over the last few days their passion for serving the community and giving their best, and supporting each other. We had our officers set up our Major Incident Command Room to coordinate our response, and in Suffolk a Major Incident was declared.


“Despite the extreme workload generated by the storm, the combined fire control provided a great service throughout and clearly showed how cost effective and efficient a joint facility can be.”

The response to the storm was shared across borders, with services working together to help communities across the region.

Due to the sheer volume, some emergency calls were handled by other fire and rescue services, including London, Surrey, West Yorkshire, Essex and West Midlands.

Also, the Service’s High Volume Pump (HVP), a national asset crewed by on-call firefighters, was also utilised in neighbouring Lincolnshire. A crew from Cambourne was sent to Skegness on Saturday (21) to assist with protecting a local town affected by flooding. Working alongside five other fire and rescue services, they pumped water away from the area and helped make the area safe.

Residents can help prepare themselves for weather like this by following simple tips by visiting