A disaster can send shockwaves through families and communities who find themselves left to cope with distress, loss, and sometimes the death of their loved ones. No one can predict what’s around the corner, but when the unexpected happens it’s critical that we’re prepared to help those affected.
24 hours a day, seven days a week, our expert teams need to be ready to mobilise and respond to any emergency, whether it’s a domestic house fire, regional flood and severe weather to a large-scale emergency or terrorist incident. The support we provide once there may be wrapping a blanket around someone who has lost their home in a house fire or managing a rest centre for communities to access shelter and support services after a major incident. We have a fleet of emergency response vehicles positioned at strategic points across the UK ready to deploy within minutes of an emergency.
This wouldn’t be possible without the support of donors including British Airways, who are enabling the British Red Cross to:
- Respond to UK emergencies approximately every four hours
- Provide practical and emotional support to those affected and response teams on the ground
- Invest in equipment/vehicles to improve our responses’ effectiveness
- Innovate services to strengthen British Red Cross’ community resilience work
Together, we will ensure that people feel safe and supported, no matter the crisis.
When Maggie’s home was ruined by a fire, the support from British Red Cross helped her and her husband to cope in that shocking moment of crisis.
While maintaining social distancing in line with the Covid-19 guidelines of the time, Red Cross volunteer Julia helped Maggie into the British Red Cross campervan, and out of the rain. This was essential, so that Maggie and Barry could take vital next steps, such as phoning their insurance company, and making contact with roofers to make their home safe again. Maggie said she doesn’t know what she would have done without Julia’s calming presence and professionalism.
“I think if she wasn’t there I would have totally cracked up… Both Barry and I have said ‘how would we have coped without her?’ I don’t know how people cope without support like that in similar situations. We didn’t know who to ring or anything, both of us were just a gibbering wreck and she just reassured us, and it was first names from the word go. I just feel like she was like family.”
Pictured: Maggie with her partner Barry, and Red Cross emergency response volunteer Julia. Please note: Maggie and Barry are married partners/members of the same household, which is why they are not social distancing. © Rebecca Lupton/British Red Cross
When the River Don breached its banks in November 2019, water swept through the village of Fishlake, South Yorkshire. Ann, a retired nurse and Fishlake resident, was there during the initial floods and the aftermath.
“One minute I was in town getting the car serviced – and the next minute the phone was buzzing and my neighbours were telling me the [River] Don had broken its banks. Water was rushing towards our house…Our neighbours were stood on their drives, totally bewildered. Some people were in their bedclothes, and some were clutching valuables. If the flooding had begun a few hours later, I think people would have died in their beds. Some bungalows were filled with water to the ceiling.
Later, the village church became a rest centre. The Red Cross volunteers were doing an incredible job making sure everyone was warm and had essential items like food, clothing and loo roll.
When something so dramatic as this has happened, you’re panicking. You’re in a spin. You might be thinking, ‘How do I turn the electricity off? How do I phone somebody?!’ So, it was incredibly helpful for the Red Cross to be there. They were so ready to give people an ear, lend advice, and be a shoulder to cry on.”
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For information on British Red Cross' refund policy, please see here: https://www.redcross.org.uk/get-involved/donate/donation-questions/making-a-donation#RefundPolicy
Pictured at the top of the page: Ann is with volunteers at the Red Cross rest centre © David Severn/British Red Cross