When the going gets tough...
munity resilience and voluntary sector support came to the fore during the heavy snowfall across Kent.
Many farmers self-deployed with tractors and snow ploughs to keep rural roads open, so that potentially isolated communities maintained their links to critical services and the wider world.
South East 4x4 Response, a highly skilled and professional group of volunteers who work closely with local authorities and emergency services, were out helping to keep the county moving.
These logistic experts work in extreme conditions aiming to provide a support service when other arrangements are at full capacity or cannot proceed due to inclement weather conditions or extreme terrain.
Their work began in the early hours of Tuesday 27th
February, when heavy snow and inexperien
ced drivers caused blockage of key routes such as Detling and Bluebell Hill, where they maintained 24/7 support until late on Saturday 3rd
March. The guys used their own vehicles and expertise to tow other vehicles off main routes to allow gritting lorries to do further clearance. They also worked on more local routes, winching vehicles that had lost control off country lanes. The other side of their work is done via MOUs with health providers, Medway and KCC, ensuring that staff such as surgeons, nurses and carers could get to work or clients’ homes to provide critical care.
This service was also provided by the Coastguard, the Salvation Army and RAYNET, all voluntary organisations who happen to have 4x4 resources and some incredible people to drive them when the rest of us are hunkered down at home! The Environment Agency also helped out so this was a true multi- agency effort.
Whilst there were some very kind spontaneous offers by 4x4 drivers, we can only engage with pre-approved agencies during response as their drivers are known to us as highly skilled, insured and DBS checked.
Without the support of our incredible voluntary sector our response would have been a fraction of what it was, so our deepest thanks go to them all.