Fire service deals with almost 200% increase in calls as Storm Arwen rips through the North East

Firefighters, call handlers and members of the public have been praised after Storm Arwen saw a near 200% spike in emergency calls.

Monday, 29th November 2021, 4:27 pm

Storm Arwen, the first severe nationwide winter storm of 2021, caused major damage and disruption to areas up and down the country.

The North East experienced its fair share of extreme weather conditions with high winds, blizzards and dangerous downpours battering coastal and in-land areas.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) were on duty across the whole weekend with firefighters responding alongside partner agencies.

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Wild waves batter the pier at Seaham Harbour. Picture: Ian Maggiore

They attended electrical fires caused by water leaks, removed fallen trees from carriageways, secured damaged buildings and even rescued a man trapped under a fence.

The Service’s Fire Control team played a vital role in the response and today revealed they experienced a 196.1% per cent increase in calls.

Dave Leach, Area Manager Service Delivery for Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, today (Monday) paid tribute to those involved in the operation.

He said: “Red weather warnings are a rare occurrence up in the North East of England so you can imagine when they do happen the region has to batten down the hatches and expect the unexpected.

“We are proud of how our firefighters, control room and staff, service-wide, dealt with the deluge of calls and how they worked alongside our emergency service colleagues to try and get the region back on to its feet.

“It’s during times like these when communities pull together and work tirelessly to try and bring normality back as quickly as possible. We had to respond to a wide variety of different incidents from fallen trees to structural damage and debris caused by the high winds.

“We hope that residents and businesses continue to stay safe as the cold weather snap that Storm Arwen has brought along has made some roads and public pathways very slippery so please be careful when you go about your day.”

Between November 26 and 28, 2020, there were 235 calls taken by the TWFRS Control team, and during the same date in 2021 there were 636 calls taken (throughout Storm Arwen).

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