Ipswich RRT shows its value
With the perilous weather forecast warning that the impending arrival of storm St Jude was imminent, the RRT (Rapid Relief Team) based in Ipswich accordingly updated their Action Plan. Forward-planning had already been completed in advance for how they would be able to assist the community in any hurricane conditions, giving the team a basic starting point.
Although Suffolk certainly didn’t receive the worst of the weather, the wind heavily intensified between 07.30 – 9.30hrs, resulting in a large amount of trees being swept down throughout Suffolk. While some fell in harmless places, others toppled dangerously, blocking roads and taking down phone and power lines in their wake. Within a short time, many of the local villages had lost their power supply entirely.
By 09.00hrs, the first team, consisting of Keith and Gerry, were ready prepared and dispatched on the road to help. They headed to Humber Doucy Lane in Rushmere St Andrew, and worked to clear four large trees that were hazardously obstructing the road.
The village of Playford was the next stop-off venue in need of the Rapid Relief Team’s assistance, where a sizeable tree had come down and blocked the road close to a community member’s house. Gyles and Sam had already begun work to move this tree and they were also joined by Clive. After around an hour of hard graft, the road was re-opened. The villagers were extremely appreciative of the team’s efforts.
Gerry, Keith and Clive stopped to cut up one more fallen tree on the way back to work which became tangled with a supporting line to a telegraph pole, and then followed on to assist with clearance work Foxhall. A trailer was then routed back to Playford to remove the majority of the scattered timber. The main road through Little Bealings was also badly hindered by fallen oak trees. Mark, Jonathan, Murray and Steve spent the entire afternoon sawing their way
through the tree debris to clear the way and re-open the road.
At 15.30hrs, a large team was dispatched to see where else their assistance was required. This included Keith, Gerry, Clive, Miles, Tobi, Gyles, Sam, Ben, Jed and Gavin. Heading towards Sandy Lane, Claydon, the team cut through some sizeable sections of oak trees strewn across roads, finishing off in Henley where two more obstructions that had fallen across the footpath and into gardens, were removed.
As a team, approximately 60 hours of manual work was carried out on the day, for the benefit and safety of the local community.
There was one action point that was noted and agreed for future improvement: communication. Liaising with a large and enthusiastic team proved difficult at times, particularly when working in rural areas where mobile phone reception isn’t always reliable and also when phone lines are incapacitated.