23 September 2010
© InfoAs torrential rain brought chaos to Northern Scotland, Red Cross emergency response volunteers reacted quickly to move 40 vulnerable residents to safety from a flood-threatened care home.
The call for help came after several hours of torrential rain dramatically raised the level of the River Deveron, which flows past the Meadows care home in Huntly, Aberdeenshire.
With the river in imminent danger of bursting its banks, volunteers in four Red Cross vehicles – including an ambulance and specially-equipped 4X4 Land Rover – raced to the scene. They transferred one elderly resident to a local hospital and transported the others to emergency rest centres in the area.
Flood danger zone
Ian Rideout, operations director, said: “We got a call from the care home this afternoon and immediately deployed our emergency response teams to carry out the evacuation. Our prime concern was to move the residents away from the flood danger zone as quickly as possible and get them to centres where they could be properly looked after.”
Elsewhere, Red Cross swift water rescue teams were put on alert as almost a month’s worth of rain fell in just a few hours throughout the North East of Scotland. Twenty specially trained volunteers, crewing three rescue boats, were put on standby and a further 20 volunteers were ready to support families and individuals in the event of a large-scale evacuation.
The downpour has set river and loch levels soaring throughout the region. In Portsoy, Banffshire, houses, schools and a residential care home were evacuated as Loch Soy overflowed, causing widespread flooding.
Ian added: “We’re ready to deploy our rescue teams wherever they may be needed, and also prepared to provide other support services – such as health and social care – for displaced people.”
Last year, the Red Cross swift water rescue teams – based at Inverness – were called out to support the emergency services when floods devastated the Cumbrian town of Cockermouth. Throughout the year, they were involved in more than 200 rescue operations.