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About the service

The fire and emergency support service (FESS) aims to support people who have suffered damage to their homes following a fire, flood or similar incident.

This valuable scheme, in partnership with the British Red Cross, is run by trained volunteers who offer practical and emotional support to the victims of the incident.

The 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 vehicle is based at Kenilworth fire station and is mobilised on the request of fire officers at the scene of an incident.

What does the service cost?

The FESS is free to the people receiving the service. Voluntary donations to the British Red Cross cover the cost.

What type of support is available?

  • Immediate temporary shelter in the FESS vehicle.
  • Help to find temporary accommodation
  • Emotional support
  • Signposting to other organisations
  • Support with the care of children and pets
  • Use of the shower and toilet facilities
  • The provision of toiletries and clothing
  • Light refreshments
  • Use of a telephone and camera
  • First aid


We need people who can be on call, ready to help individuals or families with advice, support and the use of items in our FESS vehicle.

Your role could include

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

As a volunteer, you must:

  • Be caring and keen to help others in need
  • Enjoy meeting people from different 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 essential.


As a volunteer, you will 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 the best ways to communicate and disability awareness.

Your commitment

As a FESS volunteer your commitment would be:

  • To complete all essential training, which may take about 40 hours in total
  • 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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