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 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:
- Local Authority Emergency Planning Offices
- Ambulance Services
- St. John Ambulance
- Red Cross
- Doctors' Associations.
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||East Midlands||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.
Volunteers & 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.
- Dermody, Nick (14 January 2010). "Wales' 4x4 volunteers called to rescue in big freeze". BBC. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
- "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.
- "4x4 Response Group Register". Retrieved 30 December 2015.
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