A group of motoring enthusiasts have signed an agreement with NHS Borders and Scottish Borders Council to help out during severe winter weather.
The Lothian 4 X 4 response group will provide transport to those requiring medical or social care.
The group will work alongside Lothian and Borders Police, Scottish Ambulance Service, mountain rescue teams and the British Red Cross.
Scottish Borders Council's Emergency Planning Officer Jim Fraser says:
"During any severe weather emergency where transport becomes an issue there exists within the Scottish Borders, a multi-agency severe weather transport group, which is mobilised to the Council HQ in Newtown St Boswells. The objective of this group is to manage all the transport requirements from SBC's Social Work department and NHS Borders. It aims to help anyone who requires assistance within our communities to get to hospital, or to receive medical or social care.
– Jim Fraser , Scottish Borders Council's Emergency Planning Officer
"In the winter of 2010 during the heavy snow we identified that a large number of people within our communities needed access to hospital for essential treatment like dialysis and radiotherapy. SBC and NHS staff also require access to communities to provide social and medical care on a daily basis. The transport group triage's the requests to ensure that the available transport is used efficiently and effectively."
Leader of SBC, Councillor David Parker added:
– Councillor David Parker, Leader of Scottish Borders Council
"Members of the Lothian 4X4 Group, which is charitable organisation, have the experience and expertise to control these vehicles when conditions can be especially tricky, and they are also fully trained in first aid. This is a great resource which is now available to us in the Scottish Borders so I am very pleased that this agreement is in place."