HAMPSHIRE’S fire crews have formed part of a huge multi-agency response to the snow and Arctic conditions sweeping the county.
With several inches of snow falling in many areas, firefighters have been working tirelessly to deal with major incidents on transport networks and keep vital community services moving.
The response has included:
• Providing supplies to stranded motorists on the A31 in the New Forest
• Supplying water and blankets to train passengers stuck on a train stuck on the Dorset-Hampshire border
• Transporting NHS staff to see critically ill patients in Southampton and the New Forest
• Ensuring senior medical staff were able to get to work at Hampshire County Hospital
Crews have also assisted with several other road accidents and stranded motorists, as well as responding to fires and medical emergencies.
Five Land Rovers from across the New Forest were mobilised to provide water and blankets to motorists stuck on the A31. The crews also medically assessed drivers to identify anyone in urgent need of treatment and helped pinpoint cars running low on fuel.
The Burley Land Rover and a crew from New Milton were able to reach the stuck train near Hinton Admiral to provide supplies and also medically assess around 55 passengers.
Land Rovers are also being used to support NHS Solent staff in reaching the most critically ill patients and deliver medicine and care.
Fire crews also used their vehicles to ensure doctors and surgeons reached the county hospital in Winchester for vital operations and appointments. They also helped to deal with a flood at Petersfield Hospital.
Area Manager Jason Avery said: “Despite such appalling conditions, our crews around the county have been out working flat out with all our partners to help those affected by the weather.
“Thanks to the dedication of our firefighters, particularly our on-call crews who have made themselves available, we have been able to provide a response where and when needed for our communities.
“It has been a massive team effort from all the emergency services and authorities to keep Hampshire safe during this extreme spell of weather.”
However, despite forecasts of improving conditions, residents are still being urged to only consider taking to the roads if absolutely necessary.
“Snow and ice on roads will still cause problems into the weekend and if journeys have to be made, drivers should follow weather forecasts and tune into local radio to ensure they are fully aware of conditions,” said Area Manager Avery.
People are also being urged to check the flues and outlets outside their homes to ensure they haven’t become blocked by snow, as this could lead to potentially dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide building up in houses.