7 December 2010
Volunteers are still out battling the elements to reach vulnerable people as fresh falls of heavy snow across Scotland and northern England bring a second week of chaos and instability.
Throughout Glasgow and Lanarkshire, where heavy snow brought traffic to a standstill on most major routes, Red Cross emergency response teams turned out to support the Scottish Ambulance Service.
Six volunteers supplied bedding to 200 stranded passengers at Glasgow Airport in the early hours of this morning and further Red Cross crews, equipped with 4x4 vehicles, were dispatched from the Highlands to help tackle the chaos.
Peter McCarthy, operations director, said: “We have put crews and vehicles at the disposal of the ambulance service to help wherever we can. Our volunteers are highly trained and will carry out whatever tasks the ambulance service requires them to do.”
In Northern Scotland, as temperatures plummeted, two emergency response volunteers struggled through horrific weather conditions to reach two people needing urgent hospital treatment, then took them on a 120-mile journey to an Inverness hospital.
The Red Cross crew, using a specially equipped 4x4 vehicle, undertook a gruelling drive of almost five hours with a kidney dialysis patient – who had to be picked up from a remote village – and another patient who needed an urgent scan.
Another team, while out on patrol in Rothes, Moray, came across a family of four whose car had veered off a remote road. The volunteers rescued the family and towed their car back safely to their farmhouse.
‘Round the clock’
Volunteer teams across badly-affected areas in the UK have been permanently active since the severe winter weather began more than a week ago. In Northern Scotland, where the snow is deepest, the Red Cross’ fleet of specially equipped Land Rovers has been ferrying medical staff to and from hospitals, and delivering medicines to people trapped in their homes. And in Derry, Northern Ireland, volunteers have been delivering meals to vulnerable people across the city.
Operations director Ian Rideout said: “Our volunteers have been at it for a week solid now – and are working round the clock in the most challenging circumstances to get help to people who need it. They have gone way beyond the call of duty.”
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