Flood response.

London is a city built around water, so perhaps unsurprisingly, the London Fire Brigade attended 6526 flood-related incidents in 2017.


What do we mean by flood response?

Here in London, we see a range of different floods. From flash floods caused by heavy rain to burst water mains, right through to people accidentally leaving taps on at home. Some of which are emergencies and others are not. We may be called to help in all of these situations though if your tap is leaking then it is probably best to call a plumber.

How do we help?

The response depends on what has happened and how large the flood is. If someone has entered the water then we deploy our Emergency Response Boats to rescue them. However we’ll typically also assist other services – police, ambulance and environmental health – to help people to safety, restore and maintain order. That might mean things like:

  • Keeping hospitals, prisons and essential services like gas and electricity functional in floods.
  • Rescuing people with mobility issues from floods at home.
  • Rescuing people and animals stranded in flash floods.


Firefighters rescuing a woman during flooding

Water Rescue Statistics 

  • 10 water rescue capable fire rescue units located across London
  • Equipped with 3.8m Emergency Rescue Boats
  • 15hp outboard motors and trained swift water rescue technician
  • We have mud paths and equipment to release persons trapped in mud

Flood rescue from a firefighter's perspective

"Flood rescue and response is a really interesting area of work. We can be called to a small flood in a basement of a property to a large burst water main. Last year I attended an incident where a car had driven into a flooded underpass. We had to rescue all the occupants from their vehicle. This could have easily been avoided if they had just chosen to find another route"

Did you know?

  • We don’t undertake underwater rescues or searches, this is conducted by the police
  • If you see someone in trouble into the Thames then call 999 and ask for the Coast Guard. London Fire Brigade will attend and assist the police and Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) in any search and rescue.
  • London Fire Brigade also have teams who are specially trained to attend large scale national floods. We have sent experts to Cumbria, Somerset, Suffolk  and Surrey for wide spread floodings in the past.
  • We have 5 High Volume Pumps across London which can be used to pump large amounts of water during floodings.
  • Modern cars (even SUVs) are not able to drive through deep water. Do not enter water in your car as you may be putting yourself and your family in danger.

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