It’s the first working day after the “Day After Tomorrow” style meteorological insanity we experienced last week when the UK faced some of the most disruptive weather we’ve had in decades and it’s time to take stock of what really happened. It began with the delightfully monikered “Beast from The East”, the “Big Freeze” and then Mother Nature decided we hadn’t quite had enough so sent us Storm Emma.
Thanks for that global warming.
The weather faced across the country was shocking to say the least, with the nation engulfed in snow and all forms of transport in a general state of chaos. England was cut off from Scotland because the roads were unsafe, and trains simply could not get that far north, with most services terminating at Preston, Carlisle or Newcastle. Commuters were stranded on motorways for hours in dangerous conditions and schools were shut everywhere, causing many issues for working parents. Red weather warnings were sent out for several days and citizens advised to not travel or even leave the house unless absolutely necessary. It was a worrying time for many to say the least.
Amongst all this madness, there’s a group of people we at One Stop Social must acknowledge. Care workers went above and beyond the call of duty over the past week, braving life-threatening conditions to get to work and look after those who were most vulnerable. They walked for miles through blizzards and slept at care homes to ensure that the people who rely on their service were not let down, even if they had the day off!
This week of devastating weather may end up costing the UK economy £1bn a day, but our outstanding care workers made sure that people did not lose what really matters – their loved ones. They organised pickups for stranded workers in 4x4s or walked their rounds, but as a collective, care workers proved themselves the bravest of us all. They did what they do every day – care for our grandparents, fathers, mothers or children – but under the most treacherous conditions imaginable. We owe them a great debt, but unlike their current funding crisis, this is one we can’t place a monetary value on.
Their dedication and selflessness is something we saw all across the country with all emergency services making us proud with how they committed to caring for the injured, sick and dying despite the risks Storm Emma threw at them. The icy cold weather put A&E departments under even more pressure than they already are, with spikes in flu patients and the norovirus already making it a hard February, but the NHS rose to the challenge in a truly admirable way.
There were also stories of every day #StormHeroes filling Twitter, with people celebrating those in their local community who stepped up to the plate and helped someone in need; whether it was by pushing a car up a hill to help someone home or walking to the local farm to feed the animals. News feeds were an emotional mix of the heartbreak of a latest missing person versus the pride of all those who were risking their own lives to look for them.
As a nation we recognised that this was more serious than the usual job of being able to pull a “snow day” and escape responsibilities on a toboggan or with some hot chocolate. We worked together to beat the beast from the east and prove that with all the hatred in society lately, the truth of the matter is that we all really do care.