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Volunteers respond as UK hit by snow ‘red’ alert

18 January 2013

Cars in a snow storm

As huge areas of the UK are blanketed with heavy snow, the British Red Cross is already out in the thick of it helping those who are struggling to cope.

A rare red Met Office warning for snow has been posted in south Wales, signalling severe disruption, and there is an amber warning for Northern Ireland and most of England.

During snow emergencies, the Red Cross – equipped with a fleet of Land Rover 4x4 vehicles – can make a vital difference in reaching stranded people or transporting vulnerable patients.

Heavy snow

In Somerset, Red Cross emergency response teams are working with a local charity – Wessex 4x4 Response – to make sure snow-bound oncology patients still reach hospital for vital cancer treatment. Heavy snowfall across the region has made it very difficult for some patients to get to medical appointments.

Tracey Miller, team leader, said: “Today, 33 people in our area were scheduled to visit hospital – and some are classed as category one, which means missing even a single day of treatment could be life-threatening.

“But thanks to our determined transport volunteers and the drivers from Wessex 4x4, most of those trips will still take place.”

Emergency trip

Emergency response volunteers and a Land Rover in the snowAlso this morning, volunteers with a 4x4 vehicle were called out by South West Ambulance Service to meet an ambulance crew at a motorway junction near Poole.

They then braved the severe conditions to transport a patient requiring a transplant to a nearby hospital. A paramedic joined the Red Cross driver for the journey.

Martin Annis, senior emergency planning officer, said: “It looks like there might be a challenging few days ahead, but our emergency response volunteers and staff are on standby all across the UK. Wherever help is needed, we will strive to be there.”

How to prepare for severe winter weather


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