More than 150 British Red Cross volunteers will be at their posts today (Thurs) for Pope Benedict’s visit to Scotland.
They will be on duty at points throughout Glasgow and Edinburgh, ready to help anyone who needs it.
The highly trained volunteers will be on hand to administer first aid and offer welfare assistance to anyone overcome by the occasion.
A fleet of Red Cross specialist ambulances and 4×4 vehicles will be on standby to support the emergency services and, if needed, to transport casualties to hospital or welfare centres where they can recover and wait for family or friends to take them home.
The volunteers will be on duty in Princes Street and at several points around Edinburgh city centre as the Papal entourage makes its way from Holyrood Palace and through the city centre past an expected 100,000 spectators.
In Glasgow, there will be first aid posts at rail, bus and underground stations and the M77 coach park as well as in Bellahouston Park itself. There will also be first aid centres at Silverburn Park and Ride, which is a transport hub for people with mobility issues.
The Red Cross is also supplying 60 wheelchairs to Glasgow City Council to help people with mobility problems to travel from transport hubs to Bellahouston.
James Jamieson, Red Cross senior services manager for emergency response and resilience, said: “This is one of the biggest events held in Glasgow since the last Papal visit 28 years ago and highly trained Red Cross volunteers will be out in force to make sure that anyone who needs help gets it.
“The Red Cross has vast experience of providing first aid cover at major events and we have been heavily involved in the planning for this Papal visit for a number of months now. We are well prepared and equipped and ready to provide whatever help is required on the day.
“We are also providing welfare services for people who may be overwhelmed by the event and need rest. They will be taken to an off-site centre where relatives or friends can collect them and take them home.”
Volunteers and staff will be greatly helped by the Red Cross’ new Airwave radio communications equipment, which will revolutionise the organisation’s capacity to deal with major events.
The new radios – widely used by the emergency services – provide secure communication anywhere in the UK.
William Millar, emergency response officer, said “This is a big development for the Red Cross. Thursday’s event will cover 40 miles and there’s no way our standard VHF radio equipment could stretch that far – but with Airwave there’ll be no problem.”
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.