Lowland rescuers in action during the floods. Photo: Surrey SAR

Lowland rescuers in action during the floods. Photo: Surrey SAR

Volunteers from lowland rescue teams have been carrying out crucial work in flooded areas in south-east England.

The teams are the non-mountain equivalent of the more widely known mountain rescue teams.

Specialist volunteers from Surrey’s and Berkshire’s rescue teams have been in action in the Thames Valley, where more than 1,000 homes have been affected by some of the worst floods in living memory.

Surrey Search and Rescue has been working alongside Surrey Fire and Rescue Service and Surrey Police to evacuate vulnerable residents and their pets from houses filled with flood waters.

The Berkshire Lowland Rescue team, known locally by the acronym SEBEV – South East Berkshire Emergency Volunteers – has also been busy responding to calls for help from its county council and fire service with everything from sand-bagging to flood response and 4×4 access.

Both teams will remain on active duty until at least Sunday.

Lowland search team members in the Surrey floods. Photo: Surrey SAR

Lowland search team members in the Surrey floods. Photo: Surrey SAR

A spokesperson for the Association of Lowland Search and Rescue said: “The wholly voluntary teams of specially trained rescuers are supported by a national network of similar units, and a major incident call was answered by flood response members from Cheshire, Staffordshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Kent, Hampshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.

“Other teams across the UK have also been responding locally to floods. West Midlands Search and Rescue has been called out to the centre of Worcester, where the River Severn has hit its highest level for seven years.

“And teams in many counties have been helping with prevention and rescue work.”

There are about 1,500 volunteer members of lowland rescue in the UK, in 31 teams.

Each lowland rescue team is a charity, funded by donations and grants, and staffed by volunteers who train to national standards in search and rescue.

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