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Volunteers on hand at two major emergencies

14 May 2012

Male volunteer and beneficiary older lady

Emergency response volunteers have been helping at two serious incidents – a tragic house fire in Derby and an explosives alert in Cheltenham.

In Allenton, Derby, the British Red Cross is continuing to help people in the community affected by the deaths of six children following a house fire.

Fire and emergency support service (FESS) volunteers were originally called out to the scene in the early hours of Friday (11 May) to offer emotional support to distressed friends and neighbours.

Working in shifts – and alongside Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service – eight volunteers have maintained a presence in the area ever since to be on hand for those seeking further support over the incident.

Mass evacuation

In Cheltenham, the Red Cross was called out on Friday to help with the mass evacuation of 100 households after explosives were found in a garage.

As police set up a 200 metre cordon, 23 volunteers and staff helped provide practical help and support at two nearby rest centres.

They secured prescriptions and medication for those who needed them, handed out overnight toiletries and retrieved additional clothing for evacuees from two Red Cross shops.

‘Mammoth effort’

Equipped with four ambulances, the volunteers also helped transport vulnerable residents to nursing homes for the night and back to their homes the next day. They remained at the scene until Saturday night.

Felicity Hudd, emergency response manager, said: "It was a mammoth effort on everyone's part, and we did an excellent job to ensure the evacuees were as safe and comfortable as they could be."

Learn more about the fire and emergency support service (FESS)

Become a FESS volunteer 

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