Flooding update - 27 July

Oxfordshire

The Kassam Stadium evacuation centre will be closed down on Friday but St John Ambulance Oxfordshire will still be out and about helping in the community.

During the recent floods, a nursing home had to be evacuated and all of the elderly residents transported to a hotel where they could stay. The residents who include a MRSA+ patient and many reliant on oxygen, are normally under full-time care and supervision at their residential home and it was essential that this continued. Experienced St John Ambulance volunteers are giving them 24-hour care during their stay at the Holiday Inn by the Kassam Stadium and are ensuring their stay is as comfortable as possible.

It was a truly amazing response from our volunteer members once the call for help was received

Paul Bytheway
Commissioner Operations, West Midlands

Additionally St John Ambulance's patient transport unit is assisting the local A&E department.

Spokespeople are available at hotel and from patient transport.

Ann Neville, Banbury Unit of St John Ambulance, said: 'The call came for some of us to go to the Kassam Stadium on Sunday evening, Abingdon had flooded and care homes were being evacuated. The mammoth task of booking in the residents and allocation of rooms took until 3.00am when all went quiet.

'Two residents who were too ill to go to the Holiday Inn hotel nearby had to be accommodated in another nursing home at Eynsham.

'I expressed concern to an elderly lady for all she was having to go through and she said "don't you worry about it, I haven't had a holiday in years"!

'Over the past few days volunteers from St John Ambulance have done various shifts ensuring personnel are on duty 24 hours each day.

'Cadet members [youth members aged 10-18] have helped and have done a wonderful job assisting with the elderly. They have been a credit to the organisation.

'Members from all over Oxfordshire have pulled together to make a fantastic team!'

Ronnie Wiltshire, Wantage Unit of St John Ambulance has his own tale to tell: 'On Sunday 22 July I was on standby all day and began my shift at 11pm through till 9am on Monday morning. I registered 38 people as they arrived from the nursing home and gave them blankets and tea. Members then assisted in transporting them to the nearby Holiday Inn hotel.

'I slept all day on Monday and then worked all day on Wednesday at the Kassam Stadium. The local school came in to entertain people and Mr Fuzzy a balloon artist.

'I also went with a family to Next in Oxford to buy clothes; they only had what they stood up in.'

Gloucester

The ambulance service is now able to cope with demand so our volunteers are no longer needed to support them. However St John Ambulance Gloucester still has a vital role to play in the community. The main urgency is supplying water to everyone who needs it; in particular the less able members of society who cannot easily walk to the water pumps.

 'Our volunteers have risen to the challenge in a phenomenal way. They have achieved so much in helping a lot of vulnerable people in the community who may otherwise have been at risk. We have had no shortage of people volunteers wanting to help but the flooding has stopped them from being able to get to us. We even had one volunteer who waded through the water to get to County Headquarters to help out. Fortunately we have a tumble dryer here so we were able to dry her clothes before we sent her out again!' said Jason Lugg, Commissioner of St John Ambulance in Gloucester.

Jason had a race against time when he transported a seriously unwell person to hospital. They had to change route a number of times due to roads being blocked/flooded etc.

Another volunteer transported a district nurse who needed to reach a terminally ill patient to administer medicine.

Berkshire

St John Ambulance in Berkshire has been stood down. The Environment Agency advised that the peak flood period has passed after expected flooding on Wed 25 July did not materialise.

Buckinghamshire

St John Ambulance in Buckinghamshire continues to have crews and vehicles (Land Rover 4 x 4s and ambulances) working with Oxfordshire St John Ambulance and South Central Ambulance Service, which they have been doing since last Friday. 

West Midlands

Twelve crews supported the West Midlands Ambulance Service mainly by answering 999 calls in the county to enable statutory service crews to be despatched to Hereford & Worcester. 

Additionally, a 4x4 vehicle was despatched to help in Hereford on Saturday but unfortunately couldn't get through the 5ft floodwater.  Volunteers were also on standby in Ledbury, Herefordshire on Sunday.

Paul Bytheway, Commissioner Operations, said: 'It was a truly amazing response from our volunteer members once the call for help was received, our members were only to pleased to be able to help the victims in the true spirit of the organisation, for the service.'