120 ambulances on standby in advance of Storm emma
The Irish Red Cross notified the HSE today that it has 120 vehicles on standby across the country ahead of the extreme weather conditions expected this week. This was in response to a request by the HSE at yesterday’s meeting of the National Emergency Co-Ordination Group (NECG) where the Irish Red Cross was asked to advise specifically on the availability, over coming days, of its road ambulances, stretcher-bearing off-road ambulances, and 4x4 vehicles with passenger accommodation.

The Irish Red Cross notified the HSE that its road ambulance fleet is on standby while its off-road ambulances are also ready to be activated. The exact location of these vehicles, on a county-by-county basis has also been reported to the HSE.

In addition, Irish Red Cross support vehicles such as the Fire and Emergency Support Vehicle and an Operational Support Unit - all equipped with generators - are on standby, and ready for deployment.

Transport support for key healthcare workers, dialysis patients and transport assistance to hospitals and care centres for triaged patients, key staff and essential supplies are just some of the typical duties performed by the Irish Red Cross during extreme weather conditions.

Tony Lawlor, the Irish Red Cross’ National Director of Units said; “while both State and voluntary emergency bodies need to prepare for the ‘worst-case scenario’, the Irish Red Cross and other similar bodies have substantial experience in dealing with the expected conditions. The Irish Red Cross played a strong support role in the nationwide response to the heavy snow that fell in 2010 and 1982.”

The Irish Red Cross is also advising members of the public to download its First Aid App which has advice on how to prepare for extreme weather conditions. The app also features easy-to-follow tips for more than 20 common first-aid scenarios including how to treat strains and sprains. These will be very relevant over coming days given the increased likelihood of trips and falls in the freezing conditions. The app is free to download from the Apple App and Google Play Stores to smartphones and tablets.

The Irish Red Cross is an auxiliary to state statutory services in times of national emergency. During Storm Ophelia, 38 units of the Irish Red Cross were on standby across the country, a crucial measure given Irish Red Cross volunteers made 17 call-outs due to the extreme weather conditions. These call-outs saw volunteers transfer patients to hospital and from hospital to nursing homes, while volunteers also facilitated transfers for essential hospital staff to work.

Disasters like Storm Emma are often unexpected by their very nature, leaving little time, if any, to prepare. That is why it is so important to put time into planning and preparation long before the disaster strikes.

Please help us be better prepared - www.redcross.ie/preparedness