Red Cross ready to help Cantabrians
More than 7000 winter warmer packs are ready to distribute to vulnerable Cantabrians as hundreds of Red Cross volunteers stand by to respond to the forecasted bad weather.
Red Cross emergency management officer Stephen Manson said the charity was ready to assist emergency services, Meals on Wheels deliveries and the public if the need arose.
A portable emergency operations centre (EOC) was ready to be deployed so Red Cross staff could work from anywhere and a brand new disaster welfare support unit truck had been fitted with snow chains ready for its maiden journey.
The truck was stocked with emergency food, blankets and cots, while the EOC had radios, laptops, a power generator and satellite phones.
''We've got to be prepared as there's an expectation from the public and also our partner agencies that everyone is prepared, but also we're using it as an opportunity to build capacity and train some new staff.''
Red Cross also had 7500 winter warmer packs ready to give out to those in need across the city.
The packs, funded by earthquake-related donations, included a blanket, socks, advice and some ''comfort stuff'' such as drinking chocolate, cards and marshmallows.
''If nothing happens we're still going to have lots of volunteers here so we'll just start distributing them,'' Manson said.
He advised people to take care of their neighbours, especially those who had mobility issues and might not be able to access help during the storm.
''We can't do it all, so ... just be nice to each other and help each other out.''