RNLI lifeboat men and women from across the UK and Ireland spent the last three days perfecting specialist flood rescue techniques in the Lake District.

Twenty members of the lifeboat charity's Flood Rescue Team travelled to Ullswater to undergo training in reconnaissance, rescue scene management, swift water rescue and first aid.

Part of the exercise involved a mass casualty flood scenario to test the team's rescue and emergency first aid techniques.

The RNLI's Flood Rescue Team is a group of specially-trained lifeboatmen and women who have volunteered to be ready to travel anywhere in the world to assist in flood relief work. Last summer, some of them helped during the devastating flooding in South Yorkshire, Hereford, Worcester and Gloucester.

In 2005, they were deployed to Guyana in South America to help with flood relief.

The work the RNLI volunteers do as part of the Flood Rescue Team is very different to their RNLI sea rescue role and so specialist training is essential, said team leader Adrian Carey, the RNLI's Deputy Divisional Inspector in the North.

He said: "They are all experienced lifeboatmen and women, but the types of situations and environments they may find themselves in during inland flooding are very different to those they encounter during sea rescues. Regular training exercises like this one are vital if the RNLI is to ensure team members can operate safely and effectively in the unfamiliar terrain and diverse environment of flood-affected countries."

Included in the training are navigation and reconnaissance techniques. The team also has to learn how to deal with submerged hazards and to negotiate swift and rising flood water.

During the mass casualty exercise, members of Workington RNLI crew and the Casualties Union were acting as victims, some of them representing seriously injured people stranded in rising flood waters. The exercise tested the Flood Rescue Team's rescue, triage and stabilisation techniques.

The exercise began on Friday night (25 April) and ended last night (Monday 28 April).

The team was based near Glenridding and conducted training on and around Ullswater. The RNLI was supported during the exercise by the Lake District National Park, Patterdale and Penrith Mountain Rescue Teams, the National Trust, Outward Bound Ullswater and Ullswater Steamers.