29 January 2013
For further information Kate Gormley
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Humanitarian charity asks for annual preparedness week.
Preparation is key, says Red Cross.
The British Red Cross will today launch a campaign which aims to help Northern Ireland communities cope better in times of crisis.
The Red Cross works in 188 countries and specialises in emergency response and resilience. Its Northern Ireland Operations Director, Sharon Sinclair, believes that an annual event, similar to the Scottish government’s ‘Ready for Winter’ campaign, could help people in NI cope better when faced with extreme winter weather or flooding. She said;
“Our work around the world has shown us that preparation really is the key to helping people minimise the impact of emergencies on their local communities. The Red Cross exists primarily to provide auxiliary help to the emergency services during times of crisis. However it’s usually local people themselves who are first on the scene and, with the right knowledge and resources, they can do a great deal to help themselves and their neighbours.’
‘Resilience can often come down to fairly simple measures like identifying vulnerable individuals and checking on them, or making sure that people have items like shovels, sandbags or torches.”
At today’s ‘Resilient Northern Ireland’ campaign launch at Stormont, the Red Cross will be asking MLAs to support an annual awareness week. It will also make a range of suggestions which it believes would make it easier to respond to emergencies by bringing local legislation into line with the rest of the UK.
Stella Cummings, Red Cross Trustee, said;
“Each of our policy suggestions has at its heart the desire to do more to help people in Northern Ireland, and particularly those who are already vulnerable. We are asking local representatives to work with Red Cross and other partners to maximise the ability of people and communities to prepare for and recover from emergencies, whether they are caused by severe weather, health crises or the difficulties of caring for an ageing population.”
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Notes to editors
The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.
We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.