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British Red Cross - fire and emergency support service

Adapted camper vanBritish Red Cross volunteers help people across Merseyside cope after a fire or emergency,  providing practical help, advice and comfort.

Known as the fire and emergency support service (FESS), trained volunteers are on call 365 days a year, seven nights a week (6pm to 6am weeknights). When called upon, they attend incidents in a specially adapted camper van which provides emergency shelter for those who have been involved in domestic fires, floods or other emergency incidents.

The vehicle is equipped with clean clothes, refreshments, telephone, baby food, nappies, pet food and a camera to record the scene for insurance claims. Volunteers are on hand to provide emotional support and advice to victims including issuing them with a booklet, which signposts the recipient to helpful and relevant organisations that may be able to assist in the aftermath of an incident. The booklet also gives practical advice on cleaning up after a fire or flood.

About the volunteers

Volunteers receive all the necessary training to perform the required tasks. Training includes health and safety, first aid, safeguarding vulnerable adults, safeguarding children, and overcoming barriers to communication. Each volunteer is also trained in working in tandem with the Fire Service at the scene of an incident.

Would you like to volunteer?

To consistently and continually assist people in crisis, the service always welcomes new volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering please contact Sharon Devlin on 0151 702 5080 or sdevlin@redcross.org.uk

Volunteers are required to be on call and ready to help individuals or families with advice, support and the use of items provided in the fire and emergency support service vehicle.

The role includes:
  • Being called out in the middle of the night, at weekends and on public holidays
  • Offering crucial emotional support to families who are distressed
  • Providing a warm, safe and private environment
  • Helping people find temporary accommodation
  • Signposting people to the organisations and agencies who are able to help.

Volunteers must:

  • Be of a caring disposition and be keen to help others
  • Enjoy meeting people from a wide variety of backgrounds
  • Understand the needs of people who are distressed
  • Be reasonably fit and healthy
  • Be prepared to undertake essential training
  • Must have access to own transport
  • Be prepared to work within the seven fundamental principles of the Red Cross - humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality.

Read more about the FESS at redcross.org.uk/fess

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