Fire and emergency support service

What is the Fire & Emergency Support Service (FESS)?

The Fire & Emergency Support Service (FESS) is designed to meet the needs of people who have suffered damage to their homes following a fire, flood or similar incident.

The British Red Cross work in partnership with the fire service to provide Warwickshire with the Fire & Emergency Support Services (FESS) vehicle. This valuable scheme is run by trained volunteers who provide practical and emotional support to the victims of the incident.

What is the Fire & Emergency Support Service (FESS) vehicle?

Trained British Red Cross volunteers use a specially adapted vehicle equipped with a hot shower, clothing, mobile telephone, baby food, a camera for clients to take photographs for insurance purposes and a small kitchen.

The Fire & Emergency Support Service (FESS) vehicle is based at Kenilworth fire station and is mobilised on the request of fire officers at the scene of incidents.

What does the service cost?

The Fire & Emergency Support Service (FESS) is free to the people receiving the service. All costs are met by voluntary donations to the British Red Cross society.

What type of support is available?

  • Immediate temporary shelter in the Fire & Emergency Support Service (FESS) vehicle
  • Assistance in seeking temporary accommodation
  • Emotional support
  • Sign- posting to other organisations
  • Support with the care of children and pets
  • Use of shower and toilet facilities
  • Provision of toiletries and clothing
  • Light refreshments
  • Use of a telephone and camera
  • First aid


Thousands of people each year are forced to leave there homes in the wake of fires or floods, often in the middle of the night and miles away from friends and family. This can cause anxiety and distress for adults, children and pets alike.

That’s where the partnership between Warwickshire Fire & Rescue and the British Red Cross comes into play, providing trained volunteers to offer support and advice.

We need people who can be on call, ready to help individuals or families with advice, support and the use of items provided in our Fire & Emergency Support Service (FESS) vehicle.

Your role could include

  • Being called out in the middle of the night, at weekend or on bank holidays
  • Providing emotional support to families who are very distressed
  • Providing a warm, safe and private environment
  • Helping people to find temporary accommodation
  • Guiding people to other organisations and agencies who are able to help

Our Fire & Emergency Support Service (FESS) volunteers must:

  • Be of a caring disposition and keen to help others in need
  • Enjoy meeting people from a variety of backgrounds
  • Understand the needs of people who are distressed
  • Be reasonably fit and healthy
  • Volunteers also need to live within 30 minutes of Kenilworth as this is where the vehicle is based and a quick response to incidents is imperative.

As a volunteer you would receive all necessary training to perform the required tasks, including working with the Fire Service at the scene of an incident, first aid and assisting people with disabilities. You would also learn about overcoming barriers to communication and disability awareness.

As a Fire & Emergency Support Service (FESS) volunteer your commitment would be:

  • To undertake all essential training, which may take about 40 hours to complete
  • To be On-Call for a minimum of three duties each month, normally comprising of weekday night duties (7pm-7am) and weekend day or night duties (7am-7pm or 7pm-7am)
  • To attend a peer group meeting one evening each month

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Fire and emergency support service was last updated on March 28, 2018.