UK emergency response

Emergency support in the UK

How we help

Help for emergencies in the UK

Emergencies can strike at any time and anywhere. The British Red Cross can be there to give support to anyone affected. We provide the people, equipment, space and resources to support those affected by an emergency, helping them to recover.

We can give support when emergencies happen:

  • to individuals and families
  • to local communities
  • regionally
  • across the UK.

Whether it is a fire in a family home or a large-scale national emergency, you can depend on us 24/7.

People, equipment and vehicles for emergencies

We have the scale, expertise and equipment to provide a co-ordinated large-scale response with quick and robust support.

The British Red Cross has thousands of trained emergency response volunteers across the UK, ready to provide practical and emotional support at a moment’s notice. For example, our volunteers can set up rest centres for those having to leave their homes for safety because of flooding, fire or bad weather.

Our volunteers are backed by a fleet of 4x4 vehicles, ready to tackle the toughest conditions. Some British Red Cross communications vehicles are equipped with the latest technology. 

We also have an extensive fleet of modern, safe ambulances regulated by the Care Quality Commission.

In a major emergency, the Red Cross can set up a support line within four hours and run it for as long as needed. We did this following the London bombings in 2007, the Manchester Arena, London Bridge and Borough Market terrorism attacks and the Grenfell Tower fire.

When a disaster occurs, the British Red Cross is well-placed to harness the generosity of the British public. We can immediately set up a fundraising appeal, work in partnership to distribute funds effectively, and carry out ongoing monitoring and reporting.

Supporting UK public services every day

Our ambulances provide support to NHS ambulance services for routine and emergency work across the country.

The British Red Cross can:

  1. provide ambulance vehicles and crews during surge demand, peak periods and adverse weather
  2. handle patient transport including out-of-hours hospital discharges, urgent admissions and high acuity transport 
  3. collaborate with you on projects such as call-centre assistance, post-paramedic home visit sitting services, city centre initiatives and ambulance reserve work.

If your ambulance service needs support, call 0844 412 2738 to discuss how the British Red Cross can help. 

Emergency support for individuals and families

When people are affected by a serious incident or an emergency, our volunteers and staff and a specially adapted vehicle can respond around the clock. 

As well as the practical assistance we can provide, our volunteers are trained to provide emotional support, letting the emergency services get on with the job.

Be a partner to our UK emergency support 

The British Red Cross has several emergency response partnerships in place and works closely with government, voluntary organisations and emergency services.

We also collaborate with commercial partners to bolster emergency support, including:

  • Tesco, which offers rapid access to food and supplies for affected communities
  • Land Rover, which has provided 30 defibrillator-equipped all-terrain vehicles
  • Kingfisher Group, who keep a store of practical items for us to utilise in an emergency.