Rescue Action a master class

Published:  27 July, 2010

Another all action ‘Master Class’ event is being held in Charlotte, NC, USA on October 2nd to 9th this year, where we always receive the warmest of welcomes from Charlotte FD’s Chief Jon Hannan, and Kurt Walton, Charlotte City Manager – writes David Lane. 

This workshop is one of a series facilitated over some years with the UK’s Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) and the Fire and Rescue Services working with fire and emergency management professionals from the USA, Charlotte and North Carolina to develop flood response and major incident management principles.Last year’s event, including the first “World Floodfighters” Conference, focused on strategic incident management principles with delegates from the UK, EU, Australia and USA, representing all of the disciplines interested in major flood and incident response. The key themes explored and outcomes from our collaboration shared, and ones that remain relevant now, are how the developed world responds to major disasters that require very specialist rescue resources on a vast scale, but happen infrequently, and whether there is greater scope for international sharing of experience and resources. In considering these issues, we might also reflect on the different practical and political issues surrounding “International Aid”, such as the recent international response to the Haiti earthquake, and the potential for specialist “mutual aid” and sharing of expertise between developed countries, such as currently being developed by the EU through project “Watersave”.


For UK the strategies and tactics developed through the partnership have been already put into practical effect with great success.  Many of the principles developed in the 2006 UK’s CFOA report “Management of Major Flood Emergencies” and put into practice to save over 7,000 lives during the UK’s devastating summer floods of 2007 emanated directly from these events.


As our USA / UK partnership has developed and world climate change brings flooding and major weather related event issues to the fore, great international interest is generated for these events at Charlotte Fire Department’s superb Academy and outdoor venues across North Carolina including the ‘US National Olympic White-Water Centre’.


2010’s will concentrate on the tactical and equipment challenges arising from major water related and flood incidents, the challenges of co-coordinating mutual aid across borders, including international borders, and the opportunities for the use of helicopters in support of civil emergency response. This is an area where the Rescue Services in North Carolina have made significant progress, especially in response to hurricanes and major flood events.


Much interest is generated in the event, particularly in the EU, UK and USA, especially from stakeholders, broadcast and first responder media – this year has a fresh perspective in that “Blogs” and articles directly from the event will be featured on our (Fire and Rescue and Industrial Fire Journal) web site at:

  • Operation Florian

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