A FIRE and rescue service has joined forces with a water company for a national exercise which tested capabilities to restore water to 50,000 homes.

County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service (CDDFRS) teamed up with Northumbrian Water to host exercise ‘Poseidon’ which involved Northumbrian Water asking for urgent assistance in pumping a large volume of water from one reservoir to another.

A fire and rescue incident management room was set up, supported by specialist fire and rescue teams from all over the UK and a strategic holding area sprang into action.

On Wednesday September 18, the exercise tested deploying equipment, a large number of vehicles and personnel to Airy Holm and Derwent reservoirs.

High volume pumps from County Durham and Darlington, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, Cumbria, Lancashire and Scottish fire and rescue services along with the Highways Agency were deployed into the reservoir.

This was supported by a multi-agency response with partners including, Durham Constabulary, the Environment Agency, The Red Cross, St John’s Ambulance and Rapid Response along with civil aircraft volunteers.

Area manager Steve Wharton, at CDDFRS head of emergency response said: “This is an unique opportunity to test the response of the fire and rescue service both locally and nationally to ensure that we can efficiently and affectively deploy large numbers of resources, to support our communities."