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Multi agency partners offer advice following power outages across the region

5th December 2013

Emergency Services and partner agencies in the Highlands and Islands are asking members of the public to support elderly neighbours and family members following a large volume of power outages across the country which are affecting communities across the region.

The severe weather, which has seen high winds, driving rain and snow affect the area has disrupted transport links and many roads since the early hours of this morning (05 December 2013).

In addition, many communities have been without power for hours and whilst energy providers Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) have extra resources to respond to this demand as a result of adverse weather, multi agency partners are asking the public to take care of elderly and vulnerable neighbours and relatives in those areas affected.

At present there are over 13,000 households in total affected across the Lochaber, Badenoch and Strathspey, Inverness, Ross and Cromarty, Caithness, Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland areas.

A spokesperson from SSE said: "Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution is working closely with community and resilience groups in the affected areas and welfare vans have been deployed to provide hot water, charge mobile phones and provide hot foot and drink. Outbound calls continue to be made to our most vulnerable customers and generators are being provided to connect Care Homes and other priority locations."

Partners are also encouraging those vulnerable and elderly members of the community to contact them directly so appropriate assistance can be provided. This also applies for members of the public who are concerned for another member of the community or family member who they feel may require support until power is restored by contacting Police on 101.

Superintendent Stevie Mackay from Police Scotland Highland and Islands Division said: "The severe weather seems to be passing through the area as was predicted but we still need to be vigilant in terms of supporting those within our communities who need our support at this time.

"We are working with a number of community groups to support the elderly and vulnerable within local areas, especially those more remote locations of the division to ensure that everyone has all the provisions they need until such time as power is restored.

"Collectively, we are urging people to check on their neighbours, particularly older people and those with any mobility problems during this period without power."

Anne Eadie, Service Manager for Events, First Aid and Emergency Response for the British Red Cross advised: "I would encourage people to keep an eye on their neighbours, particularly the elderly or infirm. Some people may have been without power and heating for the majority of today, and as such we have volunteers working within specifically highlighted areas to provide such items as heaters to elderly members of the community.

"We all need to look out for each other during the severe weather and make sure those less able than ourselves are not forgotten about, especially in such such adverse conditions and its after effects."
A spokesperson for NHS Highland said: "We would like to reassure members of the public that our hospitals are operating as normal although there was the need to cancel some clinics in Argyll and Bute in the interests of safety.

"Our staff have also been checking on vulnerable clients in the community to ensure they have everything that they need in place."

Bill Alexander, Highland Council's Director of Health and Social Care said: "Highland communities always do a good job when the weather gets difficult. People are familiar with looking out for their more vulnerable neighbours, and contacting the emergency services if there are critical situations.

For updates on weather alerts, travel and flood warnings the public are advised to listen to local radio and to visit the following websites for the most up to date information:

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