RAYNET news – 9th March 2018
RAYNET activated during heavy snow.
RAYNET groups in South Wales, Scotland, Kent, Devon and Cornwall were all active during last week’s spell of heavy snowfall.
Cardiff and District RAYNET were put on standby to assist in the expected inclement weather and were tasked with various duties.
The group assisted alongside Cardiff and Vale Rescue Association. On the Saturday, there was a request from Gavin Macho CEPO to contact the Co-ordinator of Social Services regarding assistance for a carer to be transported to various addresses for her duties; they were then tasked to take the Co-ordinator on call to her home address. Additionally, two vehicles trapped in snow had their occupants taken to safety. In all, the group covered 276 miles during the three days.
RAYNET in Tayside was active from 09:00 on Tuesday 27th February to 18:30 on Friday 2nd March. They were asked to monitor, from home, to provide a fall-back communication system for Tayside 4X4 Response who were providing transport for both councils & NHS in Tayside. Two members from each of the Tayside and Perth & Kinross groups were involved – though I am sure others were listening in.
Lothian RAYNET were very active supporting Lothian 4×4 Response (who had about 30 volunteer vehicles moving NHS and care staff through the snow) with 70 hours almost continuous radio safety cover between Wednesday and Saturday evenings. Most of the time three controllers working 3 hours on, 6 hours off around the clock, but gradually introduced a few others to ease the rota. A number of stations, including Fife RAYNET, provided invaluable assistance. Some 700 or so safety messages were passed.
Meanwhile, Glasgow and Clyde RAYNET Group were put on standby from Wed 28th Feb to Friday 2nd March. The group were monitoring the local VHF frequency and also the Broadnet Emergency talk-group which was operational. They assisted locally with Scotserve, a Voluntary Medical Response group, who were transferring staff to and from the children’s hospital in Glasgow by updating road conditions, again through the UK talk group.The controller was involved in local civil contingency conference calls throughout the period, as part of the communication between the agencies which was great.
On Thursday afternoon the West Devon Group was put on standby alert by the local authority.
A network was set up on the usual frequency with 12 ops responding and available within 40 minutes. Virtually all the rest of the group came on-line within a further 30 minutes. Cornwall Group joined to link up with them within this time to give a good continuous cover either side of the River Tamar in Devon and Cornwall plus 3 ops ready covering North Devon.
Little traffic requirement on the Thursday as all roads in the area disappeared under snow in the sub-zero blizzard and were shut down. West Devon did link up with Devon 4×4 to assist them with cover in some strange places where their own radios did not work. (The 4×4 drivers were amateurs and held a licence.)
Overnight conditions became so bad all traffic had cleared and group went to a minimal stand by, resuming at 08:00 hrs on the Friday. During Friday there was a significant rise in temperature and drop in wind resulting in most main roads being opened to all traffic by mid-day with the only exception being Dartmoor and parts of North Devon. However, these were opened to all traffic with care by mid-afternoon.
West Devon and Cornwall groups were then stood down just after 15:00hrs.
Kent County RAYNET (KCR) members with 4x4s turned their hand to transport as the County Emergency Centre (CEC) sought help for stranded health and care workers. Group controllers in Medway, South Kent and West Kent had already audited their all-weather resources, and County Secretary David Walsh M1AGJ provided the CEC’s single point of contact. He coordinated RAYNET deployments over Thursday March 1 to Saturday March 3, and initiated the necessary lone worker check procedures.
Altogether, KCR members drove a total of 350 miles ferrying district nurses and care home staff around Tunbridge Wells, Maidstone and the Isle of Sheppey. KRT team leader Lisa Guthrie praised all the volunteer groups involved, saying “We could not, by any stretch of the imagination, have kept the county moving and services running without you.”
Well done to everyone involved in the efforts to help.