New Red Cross team to offer 999 support in Cornwall
A new partnership has been launched to support people in Cornwall affected by house fires, floods and other emergencies.
The Red Cross Fire and Emergency Support Service (FESS) and firefighters from Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service have joined forces for the project which aims to help people when they are most in need.
The idea is that while the fire service fights the blaze and ensures all occupants are safe, the Red Cross volunteers step in to provide practical help, advice and comfort and a place of refuge in their specially adapted vehicle.
Volunteer Frankie Boyd, a 20-year-old student at Exeter University, said: "Our role will be to provide an oasis of calm when people are shocked and upset, somewhere their immediate concerns, like being dry and warm and knowing their children are safe, are taken care of. Then we can help them with things like sorting out their insurance and helping them work out where they're going to go next."
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Rich Williams, Red Cross FESS coordinator, said it was great to be offering real help.
"The Red Cross is really excited about bringing this service to Cornwall as it gives us an opportunity to help people in need of support during traumatic times.
"Few people realise how much damage even a small fire can create. Smoke penetrates everywhere. All carpets, soft furniture and clothing will be affected and invariably have to be replaced.
"Often people are very upset and our volunteers are able to support people in these situations with sensitivity."
The charity said it was hoping more volunteers would come forward so that the service can expand from weekend-only cover to 24/7 coverage later in 2013.
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