The Irish Red Cross and other similar bodies have substantial experience in dealing with the expected conditions
The Irish Red Cross has been requested by the HSE to identify its vehicle resources – namely road ambulances, off-road ambulances and 4x4 vehicles on a county-by-county basis in advance of the onset of the Beast from the East.
The charity was also asked to assess its volunteer availability to crew these vehicles.
The requests were made of the charity’s voluntary ambulance division at a meeting of the National Emergency Co-Ordination Group where similar requests have been made to other Irish voluntary emergency services.
"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," said Tony Lawlor, the Irish Red Cross’ National Director of Units.
"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 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.