Skip to main content

Developed and maintained by the NFCC

Control measure

Pumping out

Control measure knowledge

Fire and rescue services may be required to pump out flood water to prevent or reduce damage to properties and infrastructure. Pumping water may be achieved using mobile pumps, vehicle mounted pumps or high volume pumps (HVP). Any decision to pump water from a structure should consider:

  • Why pumping out is being considered and whether any damage will be prevented
  • Where water will be moved to and what impact it will have, including whether it will affect any undamaged or unaffected areas
  • Whether conditions are likely to worsen or reflood a structure and whether any reasonable action can be taken to prevent this from occurring
  • The duration that pumping activities will be required to continue for to prevent or reduce damage
  • The effect removal of water from temporary or unstable structures will have on stability where water pressures have stabilised
  • Whether the movement of water to unaffected areas will affect biosecurity or harm the environment

When making the decision to move large volumes of water, downstream conditions and development of a flood event should be considered. This assessment should include the time lag for water to arrive and probable duration of pumping activities.

Once waters begin to recede, pumping water from flooded properties may speed the recovery process but should take place as part of a structured recovery plan.

When pumping out for extended time periods the welfare of personnel should be considered. Contaminated equipment and pumps will require decontamination. Effective decontamination of HVPs requires large volumes of water and space which should be considered prior to redeployment of assets.

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Provide appropriate resources to support responders when responding to flooding

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Consider the effects of pumping out structures