23 November 2012
As severe weather and flooding cause chaos across the country, emergency response volunteers have been busy throughout the week offering support.
In North Wales today (23 November), the Red Cross has been helping motorists in the Abergele and Holyhead areas. Volunteers – equipped with Land Rover 4x4 vehicles – are giving lifts to stranded motorists unable to cross flooded roads, as well as telephone assistance.
Eighteen emergency response volunteers also undertook arduous journeys yesterday (22 November) to open three rest centres – in Llandudno, Bangor and Caernarfon – and receive motorists stranded along the badly flooded A55 route.
And when those volunteers found themselves caught in stationary traffic when travelling back home after midnight, they immediately started handing out bottled water and blankets to fellow motorists to keep them warm.
David Hallows, service manager, said: “The weather conditions were horrendous, and the volunteers who carried out welfare checks on fellow gridlocked drivers – after working hard all day – went above and beyond what was expected. I am very proud of their dedication.”
Yesterday (22 November), several areas were suddenly hit by power cuts. In Moulton Chapel, Lincolnshire, the Red Cross called on vulnerable residents to supply hot drinks, warm clothing and support.
At Honiton, Devon, emergency response volunteers accessed flood-hit areas to distribute torches, loan telephones for emergency calls and heat baby food for those left without power. And in Middlezoy, Somerset, six volunteers made house calls to support around 100 similarly affected people.
Further north, in Cumbria’s South Lakes area, four volunteers – equipped with two ambulances – are supporting North West Ambulance Service as they deal with the increased calls for support brought on by the flooding.
Some emergencies were more large-scale and immediate. In Northampton, the Red Cross was called out yesterday after around 50 residents from the Billing Aquadrome Holiday Park had to flee their chalets and caravans following a flood warning.
Seven volunteers were quickly on hand to register people arriving at a hastily set-up rest centre nearby. Besides the human evacuees, they also had quite a few dogs and cats needing to be kept separate – and at one point even had to contend with an escaped hamster.
Edith Wesley, senior service manager, said: “Our dedicated volunteers worked hard to support everyone emotionally, as it was a distressing time. And since residents couldn’t get access to the park, we also helped those who had left behind vital belongings that they need in their everyday lives.”
Find out how to prepare for – and cope with – floods with our Ready for Winter campaign.