accessibility & help

Homeless people learn how to treat hypothermia and frostbite

15 January 2010

People sleeping roughSXCThe British Red Cross is teaching homeless people in Peterborough how to treat hypothermia and frostbite, in response to the sub-zero temperatures of the last few weeks.

Red Cross first aid volunteer Jane Koe spent an afternoon at St Theresa’s Day Centre on Wednesday 13 January, giving advice to a group of homeless people, centre staff and volunteers.

During the session, she gave tips on how to recognise and treat hypothermia, a potentially life-threatening condition, and frostbite, which can lead to gangrene and permanent tissue damage.

Homeless people at risk

Andy Hewett, British Red Cross senior service manager, said: “Homeless people are among the most vulnerable in our community and, when temperatures plunge, there is a real risk of them developing hypothermia and frostbite. Jane taught the group how to recognise the signs and treat these conditions."

Denise Lewis, client services manager for St Theresa’s, attended the session. She said: “It was very informative. Everybody learned something they didn’t know before. There were a couple of rough sleepers in the group who were engaging really well and asking lots of questions – as the training was particularly relevant to them.”

Support for homeless charities

Andy added: “Participants were also given reminder notes to keep in their pockets. It was such a success that we are aiming to run more sessions at the centre this week.”

The Red Cross has also donated more than 300 foil blankets to local organisations working with the homeless community, including the Salvation Army, St Theresa’s Day Centre and Jimmy’s Night Shelter in Cambridge.

First aid tips for severe weather

How to prepare for severe weather