accessibility & help

Heavy snow causes weekend of chaos

21 December 2009


Heavy snow on top of carsTim JelfsBritish Red Cross volunteers swung into action over the weekend, as bad weather affected thousands of people in the UK.


British Red Cross volunteers and emergency response teams were on standby and were called out to 17 incidents across the south-east as a result of the heavy snow and freezing temperatures.


Volunteers offered dozens of people practical and emotional support in Sheerness, Kent, where two streets were left without power. They also gave out hot drinks to elderly residents of a caravan park in Allhallows, Kent, which also lost power.

Patient transport in Scotland

Three Red Cross 4x4 vehicles are running vital patient transport services in areas currently inaccessible to the normal ambulance service because of heavy snow. These are mainly patients who require renal dialysis and cannot miss their sessions.


There are a further 11 4x4 Red Cross vehicles on standby to assist the ambulance service with any 999 calls in areas where normal mercy vehicles cannot get through.

Eurostar suspension

Volunteers worked from Friday evening until the early hours of Sunday morning, operating a rest centre in Dover to support stranded passengers unable to travel following the Eurostar suspension caused by the cold weather.


Also as a result of Eurostar and Eurotunnel services being suspended, part of the M20 was closed and thousands of lorries were left stranded. Two Red Cross fire and emergency support and emergency response vehicles from Kent and Sussex were mobilised at various junctions of the M20 to support the Highways Agency and Kent County Council. Volunteers provided hot drinks for drivers, and set up a rest centre.


Meanwhile 1,500 homes lost their gas supply early yesterday in Barnet, Hertsfordshire. Since yesterday 32 volunteers have been deployed to support residents. They have provided blankets, hot drinks and portable electric heaters to particularly vulnerable residents. Further visits to another 180 homes are planned for today.


Read how to prepare for severe winter weather


Read a blog about our work in winter emergencies