6 February 2012
British Red Cross emergency teams are responding throughout the UK as severe weather conditions continue to affect many parts of the country.
Over the weekend, as temperatures plummeted and heavy snows came in, emergency response volunteers braved the elements to support ambulance services, transport patients and help stranded travellers. They also made house-calls to check on the welfare of vulnerable older people.
In Surrey, volunteers from the fire and emergency support service (FESS) tackled horrendous snowy conditions on Saturday to reach a couple – and their three cats – who’d been forced to flee their home in Binscombe following a roof fire. The FESS volunteers supported the stricken residents and took them on to alternative accommodation, before returning home in the early hours.
With widespread wintery showers and snow forecast to continue falling until the weekend, the Red Cross is urging the public to be prepared – with the right clothing, food, equipment and contingency plans.
Simon Lewis, head of emergency response and planning, said: “Throughout Hampshire, Surrey, Cheshire and Nottingham, our teams of volunteers and staff have been kept very busy responding to call-outs caused by the weather disruptions.
“Elderly people are especially prone to hypothermia and pneumonia, but unfortunately are also the most likely to be living in older houses without adequate heating. We’re urging people to call in regularly on elderly friends, neighbours and relatives to see if they need help staying warm or getting provisions.”
Ready for winter?
Last year, the Red Cross joined with governments and other organisations to spearhead the Ready for Winter campaign, offering practical help and advice for people during periods of severe weather.
The campaign followed concerns that, following the third cold winter in a row; too many residents were still being caught out by prolonged periods of snow and ice.