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