4x4 Response

4x4 Response is a UK based charity whose volunteers offer the use of their 4x4 vehicles to provide logistic support in adverse conditions, working with other Voluntary Organisations and the blue-light emergency services.[1] The Charity was set up to assist or facilitate 4x4 drivers that wanted to form a group in an area where there was no group currently in existence. The charity itself, while largely consisting of volunteers, in itself, is not a response group.

4×4 Response Network logo


The emergency services have a history of calling on 4x4 owners in times of need, and volunteers with 4x4s have grouped together in the UK for a number of years.

In 1999 4x4 Response was established as a response group in Norfolk, and in 2005 national links were developed into a more formal association, resulting in the formation of the 4x4 Response Network in 2006.

In the Autumn of 2008, 4x4 Response became a registered charity (Charity number: 1126138), recognised by the Department for Communities and Local Government.[2]


Although a national organisation, the charity operates through an affiliated network of thirty-two local groups. Each group has its own formalised Memoranda of Understanding with its user agencies, which include Category One and Category Two responders as defined by the Civil Contingencies Act 2004. These organisations include:

Most 4x4 Response groups are members of their Local Resilience Forum (LRF) and are an integral part of local resilience plans along with other voluntary organisations.

Groups are typically called out in response to instances of snow or flooding, or where access is required across rough terrain or where a conventional vehicle might otherwise be unsuitable, and typical tasks involve transporting personnel or equipment. Although they may work closely with emergency services, military and other Govt organisations, volunteers have no special status and no vehicular exemptions under the Road Traffic Act.

Local Groups

As of December 2015 there are thirty-two local groups which cover almost the whole of Great Britain and the Isle of Man. Each group operates independently, but in the event of a major incident additional resources can be drawn from neighbouring groups. In most cases only one group serves a particular geographic area, although there are some exceptions, and to aid identification each group is allocated a two-letter code which forms the prefix for their volunteers' call-signs.

The services offered by each group varies according to local circumstances and geography; for example the Highlands of Scotland present different challenges to the fenland areas of Norfolk.

Group Region Call-Sign Prefix Areas Served
Beds and Cambs 4x4 Response East of England BC Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire
Breckland Rover Rescue East of England BR Norfolk
Bux & Oxon Response Group (BORG) South East BU Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire
Devon & Cornwall 4x4 Response South West DC Devon, Cornwall
Essex Rover Rescue East of England ES Essex
Gloucestershire & Worcestershire 4x4 Response South West & West Midlands GR Gloucestershire, Worcestershire
Herefordshire 4x4 Response Central HE Herefordshire
Highland 4x4 Response Scotland HI Scottish Highlands
Hampshire & Berkshire 4x4 Response South East HR Hampshire, Berkshire
Hertfordshire 4x4 Response Central HT Hertfordshire, North London
Manx 4x4 Response Isle of Man IM Isle of Man
Leicestershire & Rutland 4x4 Response East Midlands LE Leicestershire, Rutland
Lincolnshire 4x4 Response East Midlands LN Lincolnshire
Lothian 4x4 Response Scotland LR Edinburgh, Lothian, Clackmananshire, Stirling and the Scottish Borders
MROC 4x4 Response West Midlands MR Warwickshire, Coventry & Solihull
4x4 Response North East North East NE Northumberland, County Durham, North Yorkshire (Middlesbrough and Redcar & Cleveland)
Northants 4x4 Response East Midlands NH Northamptonshire
Nottinghamshire 4x4 Response East Midlands NM Nottinghamshire
Norfolk & Suffolk 4x4 Response East of England NS Norfolk, Suffolk
North West 4x4 Response North West NW Cheshire, Lancashire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Cumbria
Peak 4x4 Response East Midlands PR Derbyshire and the Peak District National Park
Strathclyde 4x4 Response Scotland SC Argyll and Bute, Ayrshire, Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, Dunbartonshire, Glasgow, Inverclyde
South East 4x4 Response South East SE Kent
Sussex 4x4 Response South East SX East Sussex, West Sussex
Surrey 4x4 Response South East SY Surrey and South West London
Tayside 4x4 Response Scotland TA Tayside, Dundee City, Perth and Kinross
Vectis 4x4 Response South East VE Isle of Wight
4x4 Response Wales Wales WA Wales
Wessex 4x4 Response South West WE Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire, Bristol
West Midlands 4x4 Response West Midlands WM West Midlands, Shropshire, Staffordshire
Yorkshire 4x4 Response Yorkshire YR North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, East Riding of Yorkshire

As of December 2015 there are no affiliated groups in Northern Ireland, Aberdeenshire, or Fife. London is covered jointly by the four groups covering the neighbouring areas.[3]

In some parts of the country, other organisations which are not part of the 4x4 Response network offer similar services.

Volunteers and Vehicles

A wide range of vehicles are used by the volunteers, who own and maintain them at their own expense. Typical vehicles include various models of Land Rover, and four-wheel drive vehicles from many other manufacturers including Nissan, Toyota, Škoda, Suzuki and Ford. Although not necessary for the role, some are modified with additional equipment such as Winches or modifications for wading in deeper water, but many are of standard specification.

As volunteers are expected to take to the roads in potentially severe conditions they carry additional equipment in their vehicles to keep them and any passengers safe and warm. Many volunteers are also trained in first-aid, advanced driving or water rescue, and each group offers training in the risks most relevant to their operating areas.

Volunteers typically receive a contribution towards their fuel costs, but are otherwise unpaid. Volunteers are eligible for emergency services discounts through the Blue Light Card.[4]


  1. ^ Dermody, Nick (14 January 2010). "Wales' 4x4 volunteers called to rescue in big freeze". BBC. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  2. ^ "The Empowerment Fund: Volunteering and neighbourliness" (PDF). Department for Communities and Local Government. 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 September 2012. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  3. ^ "4x4 Response Group Register". Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  4. ^ "Welcome to Blue Light Card". bluelightcard.co.uk. Retrieved 9 April 2019.

External links

2007 United Kingdom floods

A series of large floods occurred in parts of the United Kingdom during the summer of 2007. The worst of the flooding occurred across Scotland on 14 June; East Yorkshire and The Midlands on 15 June; Yorkshire, The Midlands, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire on 25 June; and Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire and South Wales on 28 July 2007.

June was one of the wettest months on record in Britain (see List of weather records). Average rainfall across the country was 5.5 inches (140 mm); more than double the June average. Some areas received a month's worth of precipitation in 24 hours. It was Britain's wettest May–July since records began in 1776. July had unusually unsettled weather and above-average rainfall through the month, peaking on 20 July as an active frontal system dumped more than 4.7 inches (120 mm) of rain in southern England.Civil and military authorities described the June and July rescue efforts as the biggest in peacetime Britain. The Environment Agency described the July floods as critical and expected them to exceed the 1947 benchmark.

Civil defense

Civil defense (civil defence in some varieties of English) or civil protection is an effort to protect the citizens of a state (generally non-combatants) from military attacks and natural disasters. It uses the principles of emergency operations: prevention, mitigation, preparation, response, or emergency evacuation and recovery. Programs of this sort were initially discussed at least as early as the 1920s and were implemented in some countries during the 1930s as the threat of war and aerial bombardment grew. It became widespread after the threat of nuclear weapons was realized.

Since the end of the Cold War, the focus of civil defence has largely shifted from military attack to emergencies and disasters in general. The new concept is described by a number of terms, each of which has its own specific shade of meaning, such as crisis management, emergency management, emergency preparedness, contingency planning, civil contingency, civil aid and civil protection.

In some countries, civil defense is seen as a key part of "total defense". For example, in Sweden, the Swedish word totalförsvar refers to the commitment of a wide range of resources of the nation to its defense—including to civil protection. Respectively, some countries (notably the Soviet Union) may have or have had military-organized civil defense units (Civil Defense Troops) as part of their armed forces or as a paramilitary service.

Disaster response

Disaster response is the second phase of the disaster management cycle. It consists of a number of elements, for example; warning/evacuation, search and rescue, providing immediate assistance, assessing damage, continuing assistance and the immediate restoration or construction of infrastructure (i.e. provisional storm drains or diversion dams).The aim of emergency response is to provide immediate assistance to maintain life, improve health and support the morale of the affected population. Such assistance may range from providing specific but limited aid, such as assisting refugees with transport, temporary shelter, and food, to establishing semi-permanent settlement in camps and other locations. It also may involve initial repairs to damaged or diversion to infrastructure.

The focus in the response phase is on putting people safe, prevent need disasters and meeting the basic needs of the people until more permanent and sustainable solutions can be found. The main responsibility to address these needs and respond to a disaster lies with the government or governments in whose territory the disaster has occurred. In addition, Humanitarian organizations are often strongly present in this phase of the disaster management cycle, particularly in countries where the government lacks the resources to respond adequately to the needs.

Isles of Scilly Fire and Rescue Service

The Isles of Scilly Fire and Rescue Service is the statutory local authority fire and rescue service covering the Isles of Scilly off the coast of the South West of England. It is the smallest fire and rescue service in the United Kingdom and the only one to be staffed entirely by retained firefighters.The service shares management, and cooperates closely with the airport rescue and fire fighting service (St Mary's Airport RFFS) on St Mary's, which is the only other fire service on the Isles of Scilly.

Lego City

Lego City is a theme under which Lego building sets are released. As the name suggests, Lego City sets are based on city life, with the models depicting city and emergency services (such as police and fire), airport, train, construction, and civilian services.

Voluntary sector

The voluntary sector or civic sector is the duty of social activity undertaken by organizations that are non-governmental nonprofit organizations. This sector is also called the third sector, community sector, and nonprofit sector,

in contrast to the public sector and the private sector. Civic sector or social sector are other terms for the sector, emphasizing its relationship to civil society. Given the diversity of organizations that comprise the sector, Peter Frumkin prefers "non-profit and voluntary sector".

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