fire service

Podcast: losing everything in a house fire

A man stands in front of a fire and emergency support service vehicleMike Ward is used to strangers depending on him after they’ve lost everything in a house fire. As a Red Cross fire and emergency support service volunteer, he’s on call to turn up at fires and look after displaced families while firefighters battle the flames.

But when he and his wife returned home one day to find their own home gutted, he learned first-hand how important that support is.

Listen to him tell his story.

Read transcript below.

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Fighting fire and fear in Peckham

A woman cradles a baby in a Red Cross blanketWhen Billie Eidowu went to bed last night, she had no idea she and her children would be fleeing a massive fire just a few hours later.

“I was woken up in the middle of the night, about 4.30am and it was terrifying,” she said. “My first thought was to get the children out and we didn’t even have time to put on socks and shoes.”

People often talk about what they’d grab if their house was on fire. Photo albums and treasured mementoes often top the list. But as Billie discovered this morning, it was the kids and the mobile. More

Fire and emergency support: Any time. Day or night.

clivejanice190Imagine it’s 3am and you’ve just lost everything you own in a house fire. Everyone is safe but the children are cold and you have nowhere to go. Listen to a couple of the incredible volunteers who turn up to help their neighbours cope with crises at any time, day or night.

Fire and emergency support in Belfast

[Audio:http://blogs.redcross.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/FESS-Belfast-final.mp3]

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Fighting fear and fire in California

This weekend I got some scary news. My brother is a firefighter in southern California, and he’s one of around 2,300 firefighters who’ve been fighting the Santa Barbara wildfires for the past few days.

I talked to his fiancée this weekend (they’re getting married in 10 days!) and she said Rob and some of the other firefighters had been at someone’s house waiting for an assignment when the fire suddenly came over a nearby hill straight toward them. They had to scramble to get their gear on and start fighting it. More

Pyjama party

Two women and a baby

It’s 3am, pouring with rain and only two degrees, so why is there a family in the middle of the road wearing only their pyjamas?

This is a scene that our fire and emergency support service volunteers see all the time. In our spare time we volunteer to be on call helping the fire service look after people who have been in a fire or flood. We’re also working with south Wales police on a new idea to help victims of crime, but more about that in a future blog.

So what do we do? Some nights all we do is make people a cup of tea and sit with them while they tell us what’s happened. Other nights you might see us trying to rehouse a pet snake, reclothe a whole family or find emergency accommodation for somebody whose house has been burnt to the ground.

I guess you might be wondering why we do it. After all, getting up in the wee hours of the morning can be a real pain, especially in the middle of winter. And it’s even worse if you have to go straight to work once you’ve finished your volunteering. More

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