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Volunteers help after thieves sabotage lifeline service

11 June 2012

Emergency response volunteers were called out to help after thieves cut off a vital medical alert telephone line in the Highlands.

More than 200 vulnerable people in the West Highlands were put at risk on 8 June when metal thieves interfered with a subsea communications cable in Loch Carron.

The disruption immediately cut off local telephone and internet services, including special telecare services. These are used by vulnerable people to summon medical help in the event of an emergency in their homes.

Reassuring presence

Red Cross emergency response teams were called out by NHS Highland to check on any telecare users in the Kyle of Lochalsh area who couldn’t be contacted by the NHS.

The volunteers made sure that residents were safe and well, and reassured them that the fault to their service was temporary.

Emergency support

Anne Eadie, service manager, said: “Telecare is a vital service and any interruption is serious. We were asked to visit and check on any service users who couldn’t be contacted by the NHS who were considered vulnerable by the health authorities.”

She added: “Our volunteers are highly trained in emergency response skills – including first aid – and we often support the emergency services, local authorities and the NHS.”

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