The charity’s team of specially-trained flood rescue volunteers arrived in Carlisle at 8am after operating overnight in the Kendal area.
RNLI volunteer Chris Missen, who travelled to Cumbria from Porthcawl, Wales, to help the rescue effort, said the conditions were ‘unprecedented.’
He said: ‘The RNLI currently has 30 people on the ground, with additional Flood Rescue Team members on standby to relieve us as we have been on the go for around 24 hours. We are working closely with the other emergency services to do what we can to help people, and fortunately the majority of the people we’ve evacuated have been uninjured but are understandably quite distressed. It’s heart-breaking to see what this has done to people’s homes, especially just before Christmas.
‘We’ve probably assisted 200 people since we arrived in Carlisle and there are at least another 200 who still need our help. The scale of this isn’t like anything I’ve seen before, it’s relentless. I’ve been involved in six other flood rescue operations with the RNLI and this is by far the worst. It’s unprecedented.’
Chris added that the RNLI Flood Rescue Team volunteers have evacuated several families with babies and small children, a number of pregnant women and several dogs, including a Great Dane. They have been operating in four boats mainly in the Warwick Road area of Carlisle, helping people trapped in their homes.
Many of the RNLI volunteers have travelled to Cumbria from Wales and North East England. An additional team will set off from Poole in Dorset at 4pm, with a further team on standby to travel to Cumbria in the morning if required.
The RNLI Flood Rescue Team is supported by Toolstation.
RNLI media contacts
For more information and interviews, please contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789, updates will be available on @RNLIPress
1-3 RNLI Flood Rescue Team volunteers in Carlisle today. Credit RNLI.
Notes to editors
The RNLI Flood Rescue team (FRT) is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to deploy to flooding events in the UK, Ireland and abroad to perform search and rescue. It comprises of a team of specially-trained volunteers called to respond to emergency rescue situations where lives are considered to be in danger.
Any deployment is the result of a request by a local authority to the Fire and Rescue Service National Co-Ordination Centre (FRSNCC). The FRSNCC are responsible for calling on and co-ordinating additional support like the RNLI’s Flood Team to boost local rescue teams during a major flooding incident. This will involve several different agencies working alongside each other. Our Operations Director is in regular contact with the FRNSCC Duty Manager regarding the current situation.