IT’S the mega machine that will battle adverse weather to ensure our emergency services staff get to work safely this winter.
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service launched its specialised Nissan 4x4 – capable of braving snow, ice and flooding – at Cosham fire station yesterday.
A total of 55 eager volunteers will now be trained to navigate the 4x4 in hazardous conditions. The volunteers took part in their first training session at Cosham fire station last night and will receive two further sessions in Bishop’s Waltham.
Essential workers, such as doctors, nurses, police officers, ambulance crews, and firefighters, will be driven to work in the 4x4 if the city is gripped by freak weather.
The scheme will also help support the elderly leaving and returning to their homes.
It comes after two snow-hit winters in which many services ground to a halt.
Cosham Watch Manager Kevin Lloyd-Spencer was full of praise for the new scheme, the result of a partnership formed by the fire service and Hampshire Constabulary.
He said: ‘We will give the volunteers basic training in driving skills, risk assessments and planning alternative routes.
‘We will make sure the distances we are asking them to do are easily achievable.
‘No-one can say what the weather holds – at present there are no severe weather warnings but national emergency procedures will be in place if warnings are issued.’
Weather alerts were put in place yesterday as winds reaching 60mph hit the area.
Police were called to Second Avenue, Farlington, at 8.20pm last night after strong winds ripped wires and connection points from a telegraph pole. The debris also pulled guttering off a nearby house as it fell to the ground.
Met Office spokesman Sarah Holland said the south coast can expect an unsettled week, adding: ‘There could be some very stormy weather coming through at the end of the week. People should keep up to date with weather forecasts as it will be a very gusty week for Portsmouth.
‘Take care when out and about as gales coming through the country and heavy rain could cause disruption, and plan your journeys.’