Floodfighter Event

Future International “Flood fighter” SAR & Flood Incident Strategic Management Masterclass Supported by International Life Saving Federation, Professional Rescue and the international Association of Fire Chiefs – Dates to be advised

Venues: UK, USA, Europe, Australia

Dates to be advised

(subject to C-19 restrictions and travel availability)

Flood fighters logo

Professional Rescue is proud to support this “Flood fighters Masterclass” through organizing them for over a decade and half of vital knowledge exchange in the pursuit of helping to save lives and disaster management.

Training Requirements and Background to Proposed Timetable


The threatening weather extremes of cyclones, hurricanes, tropical storms, and floods capable of bringing disaster everywhere continue, in 2021 saw unprecedented, but unfortunately foreseeable, loss of life everywhere – in developed and developing countries alike around the World. A European Environment Agency report on flooding in Europe said about the ‘Increase in Flood Losses,’ “the rise in floods will only continue. The study expects flooding instances to increase by seventeen-fold by 2080. More rain will fall as the years pass because of climate change, contributing to about one fifth of future flood damage. The majority of the cause will be from building on wetlands. Annual flood losses can be expected to increase fivefold by 2050 and up to 17‑fold by 2080.” Threatening lives around the World. Whilst authoring this descriptor, it was reported that at least 443 people have died in floods that have devastated South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province, according to an official, as rescuers searched for dozens of people still missing in that south-eastern coastal region.

Flooded Community Rig, Muscatatuck Urban Training Center, Indiana, USA courtesy of that centre.

Meanwhile, first responder lifesaving rescue services and disaster response management strategies are vital, so statutory and SAR agencies cannot stand by and do nothing. “Flood fighters” and water rescuers and relevant supporting companies, we ALL need to continue our life saving work with our liaison to improve current best practice, review new techniques, equipment and emergency management guidance, tactics, and strategies.

Masterclass Description

While a major flood event is unfolding there is a need for water incident managers and tactical advisers to be able to conduct advisory tasks to assisting strategic managers, local authorities and first responders in close cooperation with rescue agencies and other organisations.

We aim to bring together emergency management personnel who are expected to identify and mitigate hazards, and who plan and manage disaster response and recovery efforts within their jurisdictions. Representatives from police/law enforcement, public service agencies, fire and rescue services, emergency medical services, emergency planning, public health, and hazardous materials response organizations are encouraged to attend. We know that during any major flood event, floodwater will cause significant hazards.

Major area wide floods will have within them “normal business” incidents; therefore, this class will explore the common tools to resolve these incidents, not just that of major flooding, with an all-hazards approach that responders will face in those circumstances.

An actual incident should not be the first time that this ‘Joint Working’ is conducted – we need to train in what could be a most complicated mission. Major floods can encompass not just the need for water rescue, but people trapped because of structural collapsed buildings, missing persons in need of search and rescue in both the urban and wildland environments. Including the usual “day job” incidents of the release of hazardous materials, together with fires and RTCs needing attention.

SAR can now include the use of geographic information and uncrewed air assets to locate the missing persons and gather Incident Intelligence. Together with contributing data to the operational and tactical information and decisions. All this whilst in the eye of the media expecting and demanding information.

Experiential Learning

This special series of ‘Floodfighters Masterclass’ events aims not only to improve the individual capabilities of delegates but to enhance their ability to function within a wider framework. The class will major on the use of US NIMS Planning with the US FEMA SAR Deployment Tool, using both Geographic Information Systems and including ‘UAVs for Incident Intelligence’ to gather Incident Intelligence to improve the resolution of major flood and all hazards’ incidents. The outcomes from this course are for participants to be able to support Incident Management functions, understand the Incident Planning process and compile Incident Action Plans (IAP) to improve Tactical and Strategic liaison.

Aims and Objectives

The aim of this special Masterclass is not only to improve the individual capabilities of delegates but to enhance their ability to function within a wider national framework. The class includes sessions on how to prepare and perform a field assessment, negotiation skills and decision management.

During the initial part there will be presentations on lessons learned, a ‘Review of Past Major Events’ and their barriers to success. Lessons in ‘Strategy & Tactics for diverse types of events’. With visiting presenters of the highest levels and experiences of dealing with and resolving major incidents and challenges.

The focus of the class are periods where the delegates must report to different simulated scenario sites and conduct assessments at those ‘props’ whilst receiving realistic injects from expert facilitators. Delegates will then progress to Incident Action Plan(s) Development for assigned scenarios, followed by critique feedback to enhance personal and professional development.

This is all such that here participants get to review their new skills together with their existing skillsets whilst performing operational through tactical to strategic command tasks and needs assessments in a wide variety of location settings. All this through the simulated major events and meeting exercise actors as the local officials who are experiencing the managing of these “real” emergency situations. This will effectively enable delegates to experience a range of command and management matters under “exercise scenario” conditions.

The class will include the ‘Understanding the use of ‘SAR UAS’ (drones) for Incident Intelligence, reconnaissance and search’. These sessions will include ‘Documenting the use of UAS in disasters and resolution of event’.

Upon completion of the class, participants will be more familiar with dealing with logistical challenges during deployments, the differences between the capabilities of differing agencies during deployments inside and outside their own national response. Hear from experienced international responders and different national response capabilities from the most relevant stakeholders.


Nominated by their agency for this class. And agreeing to conditions of attendance.

Attendance Requirements

Delegates will be invited from those responsible for strategy, tactical and operations to include police, SAR operators, lifesavers, government representatives, specialist flood and water response staff and senior managers, flood incident managers, instructors, tactical advisers and those responsible for specialist incident training in rescue response apparatus and services.

To meet attendance requirements, participants must review each training module and complete all required course assignments, activities, quizzes etc. Participants will need to bring a device such as tablet or laptop to take notes, and participate in the class. To bring and wear their Department/Unit uniform, together with their ID. There will be a need to meet the venue country Border Security and Citizen requirements.

This event will also be an opportunity for managers and tacticians to share their protocols for the benefit of all.

Continued Professional Development

This is a uniquely certified ‘Continued Professional Development’ opportunity for delegates to improve their knowledge, skills and experience in this highly developmental technical area.

For strategic delegates this event presents an opportunity to develop an improvement in international disaster response whilst at the same time improving national capabilities through liaison and improved knowledge.

And to network with other International and UK delegates with specialist rescue responsibilities and their unique experiences garnered from recent storms and events.

Masterclass Venue and Philosophy

For the future, we intend to run the classes at appropriate locations in UK, Europe, USA and Australia that have a suitably large training complex. Purpose-built to support the sophisticated requirements of today’s specialized disaster response technicians and operational command groups.

These training complexes will offer the size and scale needed to fully test the limits of individual and organizational search & rescue capabilities at all levels of complexity. In addition to the single- and multi-story, multi-composition buildings for metropolitan wide area search operations. A unique experiential training unavailable elsewhere to ready responders to the challenges of life-threatening weather extremes to our communities.

Intended to be an intense programme in techniques and of immersion involvement in development for all concerned to make the most of the investment in time and budget. This will be through having technical input about how to:

  • Prepare and perform a field assessment
  • negotiation skills
  • decision management

Together with technical input, briefings, and debriefings to facilitate delegate experiential learning; whilst undertaking role rehearsals and functions to resolve the “incident”. Concurrently delegates will within roles experience the appropriate simulated tiers of command and control of the assets to assist delegate development.

Command Aims and Objectives

The ‘Command and Control Master Class’ will be formed around these guiding principles: Understanding Disasters, Use of Common Language and Forms, Understanding Technologies that Help Respond to Disasters.

Example of Proposed Timetable


(Exact timings may be subject to change.)

International Facilitator Staff: Chief Jeff Dulin, IAFC; Mr Joe Sorrentino, FLTF2; Mr D Lane, Professional Rescue.

Arrivals and Day 1

Staff site & classroom preparation. Delegates from around the World including Australia, Europe, USA & UK arrive at Training Academy – Check-in, Room Assignments.

Delegation and staff to classroom for presentations


•Event overview

Delegates Welcome and Dinner

Overview of Floodfighters program and History – Chief J Dulin, Mr Dave Lane,

20:00 – 22:00 Evening presentation on Water and Flood PPE and Research – Mr J Wilcock, Mr A Mayhew

Day 2

0800 – 12:00  Delegation and staff to classroom for presentations

Event Overview

Review of Past Major Events and their barriers to success, lessons Joe Sorrentino and Mr Jeff Cardwell

12:00 – 13:00 Lunch

14:00 – 15:00 Overview of Disasters: Joe Sorrentino

Structural Collapse


Hurricanes vs. Tornadoes



Strategy, Tactics & Tasks for different types of events: Jeff Dulin, Joe Sorrentino

15:00 – 18:00 Review of USA NIMS (with a UK ICS & JESIP perspective) Jeff Dulin; UK National NPCC Search & Rescue Capabilities, Speaker (TBC); UK DEFRA Flood Capabilities, Speaker (TBC)

Closing remarks

20:00 – 22:00 Evening presentation: Mr John Esposito FDNY

Day 3

08:00 – 11:00 Delegates and staff report to Briefings Joe Sorrentino, Jeff Cardwell

Opening remarks

Review the need for Planning and IAP development

ICS Forms and the Planning Process

ICS Position Descriptions

Developing the ICS 201

11:00 – 13:00: Delegates and staff report to Briefings

•Safety and risk assessment briefing: Mr Matt Sloane – Skyfire

Disaster Technologies including UAVs for Incident Intelligence,

Overview of USA, AUS, UK, EU UAS Standards

Review of USA NIST Standard UAS Testing  

13:00- 14”00 Lunch

14:00 – 18:00 UAV/Drone Operations Delegate Teams will rotate through the scenarios of Flood, USAR Collapse, Haz Mat Incident, Search and Rescue and Terrorism. When each Team in turn will ‘Report to scenario site & conduct assessment’ subsequently.

a)            Demo of latest UAS Technologies

b)            Drone workstations

c)            Planning for disaster and incident response use of UAS

d)            Documenting the use of UAS in Disasters and resolution of events.

To include Drone SAR Exercise(s) in the different terrains of the training complex to demonstrate use of these assets in for example SAR or law enforcement incidents.

20:00 – 22:00 Evening presentation – Chief J Dulin, Chief Dave Lane – Case Study ‘EU Floodex’ – the conclusions, have we applied them yet? What Failed, What Worked and what do we still need to do?

Day 4

08:00 – 12:00 Technologies Deployed for Disaster Response:  Mike Cox, Renee Bernstein, John Miller

Geographic Information Systems and Field Use: ESRI Representative

US FEMA SAR Deployment Tool Mr Paul Dougherty FEMA

Field Demo of SAR Tool

13:00-13:00 Scenarios for ICS 201 Development Each Team will do all four scenarios including using the field app

Haz Mat Incident

Flood Incident

Building Collapse Incident

Missing Person

15:00 – 17:00  NIMS Resource Typing & National Resource HUB Jeff Dulin (TBC)

19:00 – 22:00 Evening presentation – Mr T Van de Enden – The Tasmania Experience. (TBC)

Day 5

08:00 – 10:30 Building the IAP Jeff Dulin, Mike Cox, Dave Lane

Teams will be assigned a ICS 201 from another Team and will build an IAP Based on the 201

10:30 – 13:00 Building the IAP Teams will be assigned a new ICS 201 from another Team and will build an IAP Based on the 201

14:00 – 17:00 Building the IAP Teams will be assigned a new ICS 201 from another Team and will build an IAP Based on the 201

19:00 – 20:00 Evening Presentation – Chief Dave Downey Surfside Collapse and Conflict of Command

Day 6

08:00 – 12:00 – The International Picture Flood SAR Adrian Mayhew, Paul Doherty, Dave Downey, Tony Van Enden

14:00 – 16:00 – How do we solve the Flood SAR problem universally? 

16:00 – 17:00 – Event debrief and Graduation and award of Certificates for successful completion.

18:00 – Dinner with delegates, course staff, and College Staff.

Overnight accommodation as pre-booked and or dispersal of delegates and travel back to bases:

Day 7

Dispersal of UK delegates and others as pre-arranged and travel back to bases.

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