For further information please contact
tel: 0044(0)207 877 7042 /email: MSouth@redcross.org.uk / out of hours: 07659 145 095
Red Cross volunteers have been working round-the-clock to help deal with the huge increase in ambulance call-outs brought on by the snows.
The organisation’s fleet of 4x4 Land Rovers has been invaluable in enabling volunteers to reach vulnerable people in areas made inaccessible to standard ambulances.
In London, paramedic crews – and even the grounded helicopter emergency medical support (HEMS) team – relied on the vehicles to respond to call outs across the capital.
"Our 4x4 vehicles allowed the paramedic crews to continue responding in areas where their ambulances were getting stuck or just couldn't reach,” said Matt Smith, operations officer. “The Red Cross teams helped ensure people could get the help they need as quickly as possible."
Volunteers also responded at the Princess Royal Hospital in Bromley helping clear out-patients from the accident and emergency department.
In Hampshire, having got as far as they could in their Land Rover, volunteers walked a mile through the snow to reach a two-year-old girl in need of urgent medical help who was cut off in her home.
In Sussex, South Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Dorset, Red Cross ambulances are supporting the Ambulance Services as crews deal with the increased number of emergencies.
One of those helped by Red Cross volunteers supporting the ambulance services across the West Midlands was a man in his 70s suffering chest pains who was cut off in his home.
“He lived in a little set of houses which were down the back of a road, so the snow had really blocked them in – he was expecting to have to wait up to four hours for an ambulance,” said Mark Walker, a Red Cross first aid volunteer.
“When we got to him he was breathless with the pain, but had quite low oxygen levels so my team and I reassured him and his wife and gave him some oxygen during the journey to the hospital”.
In the North East, volunteer teams equipped with 4x4 vehicles are supporting the ambulance services. They have also set up a rest centre in Rothbury, Northumberland where 1,000 homes have been left without a gas supply and there is an uncertain timescale for repair.
Notes to editors
For interviews with Jonathan Edmondson, British Red Cross Emergency Response operations manager for London area, please contact Mark South on 0207 877 7042 with any requests.
Land Rover donated the 4x4 vehicle to the British Red Cross in Thames Valley as part of a 60 vehicle donation to mark both the 60th anniversary of Land Rover and the 100th anniversary of the Royal Charter being granted to the British Red Cross by HM King Edward VII.
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.