Red Cross volunteers responded to 35 calls for help in Meath.

Red Cross responded to 35 calls during big freeze

Throughout the severe weather in recent weeks, the Irish Red Cross have been out countrywide, supporting communities as part of the winter emergency plan. The Red Cross has supported the HSE with patient transports to and from hospital dialysis for the many patients living in areas which were not accessible without the assistance of 4x4 vehicles who would have had to risk their lives without this assistance. The Irish Red Cross in Meath also transported palliative care nurses to terminally ill patients in a number of areas where they could provide treatment and assistance during this difficult time. Elaine Condron, unit officer with the Red Cross in Navan, said the organisation in Meath was on call 24/7 throughout the poor weather and responded to over 35 calls. Its 4x4 ambulance, which is based in Navan, travelled through Slane, Tallanstown, Rathfeigh, Drogheda, Dublin and Laytown and many other areas, covering over 1,500 miles during the course of the two weeks where the county was blanketed by snow and ice. “The Irish Red Cross is a voluntary organisation and its members dedicate time to training and upskilling themselves so they can be of assistance at sporting, entertainment and leisure events throughout the year. But, behind it, all we know that emergencies such as the adverse weather conditions we suffered recently are a possibility and we have plans in place to help us be of best benefit to the community,†she said. The Red Cross received many calls to assist the sick and the elderly in remote locations as well as housing estates that were inaccessible during the bad weather. However, Ms Condron said they would like to remind everyone that it is not just snow that isolates the vulnerable at this time of year. “If everyone could just maintain an awareness of the vulnerable in their locality and ensure they have heat, water, food and access to medical care, we can all enjoy a happy and healthy winter. Remember, there are organisations out there to help,†she said. The bad weather is forecast to return again this weekend and the Red Cross is restocking its 4x4 and preparing it for the road again in the coming week.