About Hertfordshire 4×4 Response

(Charity No 1174848)

Hertfordshire 4×4 Response was set up in November 2007 to aid the Emergency Services and Local Authorities in the event of adverse weather such as flooding, snow, ice or any other emergency where four wheel drive vehicles are required.

The group is composed entirely of volunteers and receives no government or local authority funding other than reimbursement of mileage (as laid out through a memorandum of understanding between the organisation and Hertfordshire 4×4 Response). The response team operate through the use of experienced 4×4 owners who volunteer their services and personal vehicles, equipped to deal with the incidents we may be called upon, free of charge.

The original idea came when the group founder Tony was responsible for Emergency Planning as part of his duties at a District Council in Hertfordshire. On Thursday 30th January 2003, the South and East of England was hit by severe snow which brought a large part of the country to a standstill; an event that came to be known as “White Thursday”.

In later discussions at the Local Emergency Planning Forum, it was clear that should the event have lasted any longer than 24 hours, any emergency plans put into action would have been severely hampered by the fact that neither Emergency Services nor Local Authorities had access to any significant numbers of 4×4 vehicles; let alone trained drivers. In fact it appeared that in Tony’s District and possibly the Whole County, Tony was the only Emergency Planner able to move around un-aided on the account of owning a Land Rover Freelander and his several years of 4×4 experience driving in difficult conditions.

At the Local Emergency Planning Forum meeting, the idea was raised that a register of 4×4 owners in the County who would be willing to volunteer in such circumstances be formed. However due to other work pressures it never came about and Tony moved to another job.

In 2007, working full time as an Emergency Planning Officer in Essex Tony realised it was 4×4 owners themselves who needed to get the group running. He also discovered a few similar groups had been formed in 2006 through the National 4×4 Response Network and were in existence around the Country, this provided the support and information needed to get the Hertfordshire 4×4 Response Group up and running. Tony served as Chairman of Hertfordshire 4×4 Response until stepping down in 2016 however he remains a non-operational support member of the group (as he no longer lives in Hertfordshire, hindering any positive response time to an incident!).

Hertfordshire 4×4 Response had a small restructure in 2017 and shortly after the committee successfully obtained Charity status in September 2017 after several months hard work. Since September the committee have been working full steam ahead to assist and obtain new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) contracts with multiple organisations and emergency services.

Following the unusual heavy snowfalls between December 2017 and March 2018 named ‘The Beast from The East’ and a busy period for the charity assisting the local organisations, the charity was presented with the Chief Fire Officers Certificate of Appreciation for meritorious action of a high order supporting humanitarian activities to preserve life during significant snow events.

The majority of calls we respond to when requested by the Local Authority and other organisations fall into several categories and some of which may only be applicable in adverse weather conditions:
– Charity Event Support/Marshalling/Logistics
– Transport of essential Medical Staff
– Assistance to Vulnerable Persons either through local Search and Rescue teams or British Red Cross
– Meals on Wheels deliveries
– Recovery of stranded vehicles (for example, stuck in snow or flooding)
– Assistance at Road Traffic Collisions
– Ambulance and other vehicle recoveries during bad weather or at events

Hertfordshire 4×4 Response is recognised by the Civil Contingencies Secretariat of the Cabinet Office,
Hertfordshire Local Resilience Forum and by the East of England Ambulance Service.