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Emergency volunteers respond to second Belfast alert

29 November 2013

Emergency response volunteer at a UK rest centre

Our emergency response volunteers in Belfast have been called out for the second time in a week after a security alert led to a mass evacuation.

Earlier this week (24 November), the British Red Cross turned out to help after a car bomb partially exploded outside a Belfast shopping centre.

The latest incident occurred in west Belfast last night (28 November), when army bomb experts were called to examine a car. Fortunately, nothing suspicious was ultimately found.

Midnight support

As scores of families were moved out of their homes late in the evening, a Red Cross team were called out to help set up a rest centre nearby.

Five volunteers, equipped with a fire and emergency support vehicle, provided hot drinks, refreshments and blankets for around 40 evacuees. While most residents were in good spirits, some needed extra support.

One older man had only recently left hospital after a hip operation, so the volunteers made sure he was comfortable. Another lady was distressed because she had left home without necessary medication, so the team went along to the pharmacy for a prescription.

Committed volunteers

Joanne McKenna, service manager, said: “Our volunteer team turned out shortly before midnight and stayed right through until the morning, making sure everyone was as comfortable and happy as possible.”

She added: “Some of our team had also been at the shopping centre incident a few days ago, so were actually doing this for the second time in a week. But that’s what our volunteers are like – if people need help, they’ll drop everything and answer the call.”

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