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Grab bags help crisis volunteers

Published: 27 February 2017

A team of volunteers who support victims in emergencies in North Yorkshire and York have been given a boost.

The team has received a donation of new grab bags that will help its members respond to calls faster.

In an emergency, volunteers of the Major Incident Response Team (MIRT) are ready to spring into action to work alongside emergency services to support victims, whether the crisis affects one family or a whole community.

The team, formed by North Yorkshire County Council, can be called in by local authorities or emergency services to offer practical and emotional support to victims. If it is necessary to evacuate a community, for example because of flooding, MIRT volunteers will set up a rest centre and look after the emotional welfare of anyone affected.

The team submitted a bid to Bettys & Taylors of Harrogate for one of the company's Good Cause Awards, which are small awards made available for projects close to their staffs' hearts. The company made an award of £878, which has enabled MIRT to buy 17 grab bags for volunteers.

The rucksacks are like a mini rest centre in a bag, meaning MIRT volunteers are ready to go in the event of a call-out. The bags contain a first aid kit, foil blankets, a torch, whistle and notepad as well as the paperwork needed to set up a rest centre quickly and information packs for people the volunteers support. There is also room for personal essentials, such as a phone charger and snacks, in case a volunteer is away from home for a number of hours.

North Yorkshire County Council leader Carl Les, who is Executive Member for Emergency Planning, said: "MIRT is an excellent example of volunteers coming forward to support individuals and communities across the county. These branded bags will help the volunteers to do their work more effectively, as well as strengthening their sense of identity and making them easily recognisable to the people they are supporting through difficult times."

Sarah Wells from Bettys & Taylors said: "This award was put forward following the floods in York last winter and it highlighted the important work that community volunteers do in times of crisis. The team were happy to be able to support a request that could have such an impact on our local communities."

Anyone interested in learning more about becoming a MIRT volunteer should contact Alex Sutcliffe, manager of MIRT, on 01609 532217 or at alex.sutcliffe@northyorks.gov.uk

This page was last updated on 27 February 2017