As forecasters predict another bout of heavy snows, the British Red Cross has released £21,000 to support its response in Scotland, while volunteers across the country are gearing up to brave the elements in support of the emergency services.
Already deployed and responding to calls in Scotland, highly trained volunteer crews equipped with Land Rover 4×4 ambulances are ready to brave the elements and bring help to those in need throughout Britain.
And such has been the sustained response north of the border that money from the British Red Cross Disaster Fund – more usually used to fund emergency responses to disasters like those in Haiti and Pakistan – has been released to restock equipment in Scotland.
Simon Lewis, British Red Cross head of emergency response said: “Our volunteers in northern Scotland have been constantly on the go since late November.
“So it’s understandable, that our stocks of severe weather supplies are depleted and, given that we’re in for a long spell of blizzards and heavy snow, we urgently need fresh equipment.
“The disaster fund allows us to release money immediately when it is most needed.
“Earlier this week money from the fund was used to support the Red Cross response to cholera in Haiti and today it’s being used to help people in the UK affected by the snow.
“It’s a great example of the breadth of our work, and how important having this fund can be, helping people here in the UK and around the world.”
During the recent bad weather, Red Cross crews have battled through the snow to provide life-saving treatment to critically ill patients, responded to emergency 999 calls, delivered much needed medicine and medical equipment, and transported patients and vital NHS personnel.
Volunteers have also been ‘snowfriends’, visiting the homes of vulnerable people to ensure they are ok and offer extra help during the bad weather.
“Right up and down the country we are on standby to reach people through the snow,” added Simon Lewis.
“We’re expecting to see some pretty horrendous conditions, but this is what we train for.”
To donate to the Red Cross disaster fund visit www.redcross.org.uk/disasterfund
The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.
We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.