Red recovery: the Red Cross Victim Support Service plays a vital part in the fire community. The role of the FVSS is a varied one but can involve such aspects as assisting families and homeowners during a crisis.(Victim Support)

"A FIRE IN THE HOME IS ONE OF the most stressful events a human being can possibly undergo," says Ed Loft, West Midlands fire victim support coordinator for the British Red Cross.

"Naturally, people are devastated following a fire, but they're usually in shock too. They may not be in a position to make rational decisions and organise the many things that need to be done straight after the event. That's where we come in."

"When the fire appliances have gone, we help people in whatever way we can--getting them clothed, fed and watered, and sorting out transport and temporary accommodation. We basically do whatever is needed to help people through this terrible time--from a cup of tea to a lift to hospital."

The Fire Victim Support Service (FVSS) was launched by the Red Cross in 1993. The scheme is designed to allow the Fire Service to get on with tackling the fire, white the distressed victims can be given practical support and an emotional space in which to decide what to do next. …

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