THE British Red Cross has re-launched its fire and emergency support service with a brand new vehicle covering South Wales including Chepstow and Caldicot.

The Red Cross service helps families cope in the immediate aftermath of a house fire or other emergency. The new vehicle will be used to provide a comfortable safe-haven for those affected.

John Griffiths AM Newport East and Minister for the Environment and Sustainability attended along with staff and volunteers from the Red Cross fire and emergency support service and Huw Jakeway, Deputy Chief Fire Officer for South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, which the Red Cross works in partnership with.

The service, which operates across South Wales, is run by dedicated volunteers who turn out at the scene of a house fire to provide practical and emotional support to people who are affected.

The service has been running for more than 10 years, helping around 100 people each year. The brand new specially-adapted Fiat Trigano motorhome provides people the Red Cross helps with somewhere to sit and recover while they receive comfort and advice from the charity's volunteers.

Mr Griffiths said: "I am pleased to welcome the Red Cross and the Fire and Rescue Service to the National Assembly for Wales to launch this specialist support vehicle. 

"The newly acquired vehicle will allow the fire and emergency support service in south east Wales to provide further assistance and support to victims of house fires."

Red Cross fire and emergency support service coordinator Sam Clark said: "Our new vehicle allows our volunteers to continue doing the excellent job they do, helping vulnerable people in crisis and, in so doing, supporting South Wales Fire Service and South Wales Police to do the important job they do at the scene of a house fire or other emergency."

The service is run thanks to the dedication of a team of 18 volunteers, including nine new recruits. They provide immediate temporary shelter, spare clothing and signposting to other organisations that can help.

Head of Risk Reduction for South Wales Fire and Rescue Service Martin Henderson says: "The work performed by the Red Cross in supporting people in the aftermath of a house fire and other emergencies is highly valuable. The personal and emotional support afforded by the people involved requires a special kind of person."

For more information on the British Red Cross visit:">

Photographs of the relaunch event at the Welsh Assembly building courtesy of UNP.