Monday 6 February 2012
For further information
Henry Makiwa 020 7877 7479 / HMakiwa@redcross.org.uk
Out of office hours pager: 07659 145095
British Red Cross emergency teams are responding across the UK as severe weather conditions and snow continue to affect many parts of the country.
Over the weekend, Red Cross teams across the country have been supporting ambulance services, transporting patients and helping stranded travellers as well as checking on older people in homes. With widespread wintery showers and snow forecast to continue falling until the weekend, the Red Cross is urging the public to be prepared of the winter snap at all times, with the right clothing, food, equipment and contingency plans.
Simon Lewis, the British Red Cross head of emergency response and planning said: “Across the country in Hampshire, Surrey, Cheshire and Nottingham, Red Cross teams of staff and volunteers have been out responding to call outs caused by the weather disruptions. With forecasts predicting more snow falls, we are most concerned about the welfare of vulnerable people.
“Elderly people are especially prone to hypothermia and pneumonia. Unfortunately, they are also the most likely to be living in older houses without adequate heating, so call in regularly on elderly friends, neighbours and relatives to see if they need help staying warm or getting provisions,” he added.
Last year, the Red Cross partnered with governments and other organisations to spearhead the Ready for Winter campaign, offering advice and practical help in case the country is hit by severe weather storms.
As part of the campaign, the charity advises members of the public on essentials they may need to carry as temperatures continue to plummet. These vital items include:
• A list of emergency contact numbers
• battery operated torch and spare batteries (or a wind up torch)
• battery operated radio and spare batteries (or a wind up radio), so you know what’s happening
• any essential medication, some toiletries and a first aid kit
• three days’ supply of bottled water and ready-to-eat foods that keep
• copies of important documents for identification purposes
• pencil, paper, and a whistle
• spare keys to your home and car
• spare glasses or contact lenses
• if needed, baby and pet supplies.
The Ready for Winter campaign follows concerns that last winter was the third cold winter in a row; and many people were caught out by the prolonged periods of snow and ice.
Elsewhere across Europe where an extreme cold wave has caused the deaths of over a hundred people in the past week, Red Cross emergency response teams have been working around the clock to meet the basic needs of the affected people, with hot meals, warm clothing and blankets.
The International Federation of Red Cross has released £90,000 in emergency funds to help the Red Cross in Belarus and Ukraine which have been particularly badly affected.
For updates visit www.redcross.org.uk/readyforwinter
For spokespeople and interviews please contact Henry Makiwa (HMakiwa@redcross.org.uk , 0207877479) or Joe Lowry (firstname.lastname@example.org, +3618884507)
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.