In recent years, since the introduction of the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, all Councils and Emergency Planners have been obligated to have in place detailed plans for dealing with emergencies. These could be any weather based problem, terrorist activity, pollution incidents, road / rail / air incidents, utility company problems (lack of water or power), or any other issue, with 4x4 vehicles being needed for transport of people, equipment, towing duties, radio vehicles, public awareness vehicles and more.
The council plans MUST include 1st & 2nd line responders; Police, Fire, Ambulance are 1st line and utility organisations are 2nd line. The plans MUST also include voluntary organisations.
This is where the various Response Groups set up across the country become involved. Many of these have been set up by groups of individuals (often professionals – paramedics/fireman etc) and are very successful at what they do. Individual groups can then be integrated as part of the 4x4 Response UK network, enabling a link to be maintained between them across the country.
MROC 4x4 Response group is not, and does not pretend to be, any sort of emergency service. It is simply a network of experienced drivers with well maintained and suitably equipped 4 Wheel Drive vehicles able and willing to provide a voluntary "go anywhere" logistics solution to Emergency Services and Local Authorities Emergency Planning Depts, and many other organisations, when normal transport methods are stretched to the limit or ordinary vehicles are unable to cope with the terrain or conditions. Most duties would probably be of a ‘fetch & carry’ nature, transporting people, foodstuffs or equipment. The groups are usually based and operate within county boundaries, as this fits in with most other organisations and local authority's boundaries which in turn allows for a close working relationship with the user services in their area.
The flood problems during July 2007 resulted in at least 4 member response groups of the Response UK directly helping the British Red Cross from their distribution centre at Quedgley, Gloucs. During a 10 day period 39 members travelled nearly 4000 miles, delivered 150,000 litres (150 tonnes) of water, several hundred food parcels, and also several hundred hygiene packs. Those involved were Wessex, Gloucester, Humber-Yorks, and Powys 4x4 Response. The national 4x4 Response UK network was itself only set up during 2005.
We feel that our involvement could be any weather based problem, terrorist activity, pollution incidents, road / rail / air incidents, utility company problems (lack of water or power), or any other issue, with 4x4 vehicles being needed for transport of people, equipment, towing duties, radio vehicles, public awareness vehicles and more. In short:
Within the MROC 4x4 Response group are 4x4 drivers experienced and competent in the following areas: off road driving with wading capabilities, towing, light vehicle recovery, winching, and radio communication, though we are aware that the main concern is probably that of providing transport.
The response group covers Birmingham, Coventry, Solihull, and Warwickshire but are able to offer assistance in adjoin areas if called upon. Most 4x4 Response groups have regular contact with those in neighbouring counties and are always available to assist each other when required. Potentially the area covered is very large.
The aim of the group will be to provide a more unified approach across the area and provide Cat 1 responders (Police, Fire, Ambulance and Local Authorities) with a known skilled and equipped team of volunteers when in time of need.
To that end, we have impressed upon our volunteers the need for vehicles to be road legal at all times (tax, insurance, MOT) to enable participation within the group, and to ensure that insurance companies are aware of the volunteer group involvement.
All members are equipped with mobile telephones and 2 way radios, enabling contact to be maintained between vehicles and our incident controller. We have a suggested basic minimum equipment list and much of this is carried anyway on a day to day basis.