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After the flood

Hirers can play a key role both during emergency flooding incidents and in subsequently providing equipment for the recovery process. Alan Guthrie reports.

The recent flooding that devastated large areas of Pakistan provided a sobering reminder, if any were needed, of the damage and misery that such events cause. While events on such a huge scale are, thankfully, rare, more people are aware of flooding risks following coverage of extreme events closer to home. One need only recall the

respond quickly when needed. During the 2007 flooding we were able to put in place quickly a standby fleet of 12in diameter pumps at a sewage plant in the West Midlands, in case floodwater started to affect it. Overall, we can reach virtually any site in the UK within two hours.”

Selwood Group is another pump hirer and supplier that provides equipment for emergency flood damage restoration nationwide. “It is hard to say whether such events are more frequent, or whether they arouse more media interest,” says Marketing Manager, Peter Manley. “However, we are speaking to more organisations who are making contingency plans than, say, before the 2007 floods. They realise they need to think ahead.

Andrews Sykes supplied pumps last month for a flooding incident in west London.

floods that engulfed the Cornish village of Boscastle in 2004 and Carlisle the following year, the flooding that affected large areas in the Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside in 2007, and similar conditions that befell Cockermouth last November, when that part of Cumbria experienced the highest rainfall level recorded for a 24-hour period in England. Many other events on a smaller scale occur and, while not making national headlines, they cause similar damage that must be repaired.

When such an emergency happens, specialist hirers are able to respond with the necessary equipment. “We are called in by councils and utilities to help with the large scale pumping required when flood waters have started to recede,” says Steve Reeve, National Sales Director with Andrews Sykes Hire, which has 28 depots nationwide. “We have to wait until water levels fall, otherwise there is simply nowhere to pump the water to. At Cockermouth, levels did not fall for nearly three days.Then we can start using our large diameter diesel pumps of 4 or 6in, or greater.

Specialist staff

“Later we can supply heaters, dryers and dehumidifiers for building restoration work. This includes specialised equipment, such as desiccant dehumidifiers, which can operate at very low temperatures and where very low relative humidity is required. Our specialist staff liaise with management of local authorities and utilities about their contingency plans for possible flooding events, and this enables us to


“All the pumps we offer can pump water, although obviously high- volume units like our ‘D’ range give maximum flow rates. Our ‘S’ range can also deal with solids. During the 2007 floods, every single pump in our fleet was out on hire. Pump hire differs from plant hire, in that people invariably do not know exactly what equipment they need to deal with flooding. Our specialists can quickly give on-site advice. During the Cockermouth situation, staff cancelled their holidays and were on site round the clock for several days. Besides supplying the equipment, it is essential you have trained people who can respond at the drop of a hat.”

Rapid response

Also emphasising the necessity to have specialist personnel to service this market is Richard Coffey, MD of Supply UK, which 12 months ago launched its Force3 hire division for the damage

Supply UK launched its Force3 specialist division 12 months ago.

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