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Police credit Red Cross after mass evacuation

26 January 2009

A volunteer comforts an evacuee at a rest centreLayton Thompson (BRC)After a fire led to over 120 people being evacuated from a hotel and nearby houses, Red Cross emergency response volunteers turned out to provide support and shelter for more than ten hours.

The London Borough of Southwark called the Red Cross after a fire tore through an abandoned public house. Thirteen Red Cross volunteers and staff  helped set up and staff a rest centre, as well as comforting evacuated residents. Before the volunteers arrived evacuated residents had been sheltering on buses caught up in the incident.

The team provided hot drinks and food to the evacuated residents and also food and drinks to council staff and emergency services personnel. Twenty-five of the evacuees were transported to a rest centre and given blankets and hygiene packs, as well as books and crayons for the children. One evacuee was also loaned with a wheelchair.

At the rest centre one volunteer noticed a man was becoming unwell. An ambulance-trained volunteer checked his blood sugar levels and other vital signs, and called out London ambulance service, who transported him to a local hospital for further assessment and treatment.

An inspiring team

Ian Brown, Metropolitan police inspector, said: "The level of service provided by the men and woman of the Red Cross was exemplary. Quite how we would have managed without their quiet unobtrusive professionalism is beyond me! 

"Without their action, men, woman and children would have probably been left shivering on buses (where they had been temporary housed!) for hours. Their enthusiasm and professionalism was inspiring!"

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