A team of volunteer lifeguards from Worcestershire has been recruited to help save lives during major flooding incidents in the UK.
South Worcester Lifeguard club has trained 10 volunteers and bought two boats thanks to £70,000 in funding.
It is the first time an individual club will work alongside first responder emergency services during national flood emergencies, the club said.
The rescue boats were launched in Evesham this weekend.
Jon Hall, chief fire officer at Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service, said: "Flood rescue is about when the world's gone wrong so, as a chief fire officer or as a local authority, dealing with a crisis, to know there's a network dotted about the country that can support you in the way that this unit is established is so valuable."
In 2007, specialist rescue teams were called in from Italy to help after severe flooding in the West Midlands.
The new unit will be co-ordinated by the Fire and Rescue National Coordination Centre in Sheffield.
More volunteers will be trained in 2013, the club said.
Paul Hoxey, from South Worcestershire Flood Rescue unit, said he was looking forward to being part of the new team.
"It's really exciting and nerve-racking as well," he said.
"I think it will take a time to settle in once we get deployed."