Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service

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Adapted camper van

British Red Cross Fire and Emergency Support Service

The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. They are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.

They help vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and cope with emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, the British Red Cross help people to recover and move on with their lives.

About the Fire and Emergency Support Service

The British Red Cross Fire and Emergency Support Service (FESS) is a rapid, response service. Working in partnership with Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service, FESS provide practical help and emotional support to people affected by fires, floods and other emergency incidents.

Volunteer to help those in need

Help FESS – Find out about the volunteer role

A FESS volunteer, working as part of a team, will provide much-needed help to people who have suddenly found themselves homeless, or in need of support, following a fire, flood or other emergency incident. Equipped with a specially prepared vehicle, the volunteer will support people in crisis by providing practical help and emotional support. FESS volunteers could also need to provide support to the emergency services as part of the British Red Cross response to an incident. This could include practical and emotional support.

Typical tasks include:

  • Provide practical support to individuals such as shelter and refreshments, providing basic provisions and facilities, signposting to other organisations, supporting with the care of children and pets, first aid and assisting with seeking temporary accommodation.
  • Provide emotional support to distressed individuals.
  • Maintain appropriate records.

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, a 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.

What FESS and the British Red Cross are looking for

A volunteer will need to be willing to respond when on-call, including unsocial hours. FESS keep the beneficiary at the heart of what we do, working to understand their needs and the difference we make. As well as good interpersonal, diplomacy, communication and teamwork skills. FESS are looking for people who have, or are willing to undertake, training.

To consistently and continually assist people in crisis, FESS always welcomes new volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Sharon Devlin on 0151 702 5080 or 07710 976619.

Read more about FESS or email for more information.

Read about incidents attended by Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service.

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