NORTHAMPTONSHIRE, UK – At Pittsburgh Water in Northamptonshire, an extensive multi-agency flood prevention exercise was staged, spotlighting the effectiveness and swift deployment of the Geodesign Barriers. The location, not typically prone to floods, provided a perfect backdrop for the simulation. The event marked a collaboration of several entities, including the Environment Agency, local fire brigade, council officials, and over 20 personnel from the Second Battalion, the Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment (2PWRR).
After the morning's arrival, the troops were briefed and immediately got to work installing the flood barriers. These barriers, described as straightforward but effective, consisted of foldable bases onto which aluminum sheets were attached. The construction was then topped with plastic sheeting held down by chains.
Lt Christian Moore, Platoon Commander A Company of 2PWRR, lauded the exercise.
"It's remarkable how quickly everyone's picked it up,"
he remarked, pointing to the confidence of the team with the equipment. "If we ever had to use it properly, our blokes would be confident using it."
Private Rhys Horsted of 2PWRR shared insights on the battalion's shift in focus after their return from Cyprus. "We are new to the UK. This flood prevention training is something we're undertaking for the first time. In Cyprus, our focus was more on guard duties," he said, hinting at the importance of adapting to different operational needs based on location.
Ben Thornley of the Environment Agency emphasized the importance of inter-agency collaboration. "This has been a fantastic opportunity to work jointly with the military, understanding the intricacies of how both our organizations function," he said.
"It's crucial for the local resilience forum to regularly practice for flood events."
Reinforcing the rapid deployment of the barriers, Lt Col Andrew McCombe, East Midlands Liaison Officer, added, "The troops now understand the logic behind the placement of these barriers. If they need to deploy this winter, they've seen firsthand how quickly and practically these flood barriers can be set up."
Given the unpredictability of natural disasters, such drills are vital. The UK has seen its share of flood emergencies in recent years, with military personnel playing a pivotal role. This drill in Northamptonshire not only showcased the effectiveness of the Geodesign Barriers but also underscored the importance of cohesive multi-agency preparedness.
The culmination of the exercise will form part of a larger multi-agency command exercise scheduled for later this year, ensuring that the region is well-prepared for any potential flooding challenges in the future.