Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Lifeboat volunteer slept at station

A dedicated RNLI volunteer slept at his station after the snow caused power problems

A dedicated volunteer spent three nights sleeping in a Scottish lifeboat station after power cuts wiped out usual communication methods.

George Bradley, lifeboat operations manager for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), bedded down in the Campbeltown station after the emergency pager system went down.

Snow damaged large sections of the power network, toppling two transmission pylons and cutting the power to around 18,000 properties last week. Mr Bradley slept in the town's RNLI station, beside the phone, in case there was a 999 call.

The 64-year-old said: "Our paging system was down, our mobile phones were down, the phone in my house was down and our coxswain had no power at his house since Friday. But the old type of phones which are directly connected, like the one in the lifeboat station, were still working, so I slept in the station for three nights.

"There are bench seats, so I slept there in a sleeping bag, because there was no other way the coastguard could have got hold of me. It's just one of the things that come with the territory of being the lifeboat operations manager.

"In the event of an emergency I would have had to go round the crew's houses."

While he was manning the phone there were no emergencies at sea, but the lifeboat crew assisted the community by driving round the area to relay information to residents.

Mr Bradley said: "We had a Range Rover, which has a built in speaker system, so we went round telling people where they could get hot food and drink. We also brought some of the older people into the town."

The power was returned to the lifeboat station in Campbeltown, in the Kintyre peninsula, on March 27, leaving Mr Bradley to return to his home in the town.

He added: "I slept alright in the station, but when I woke up it was really cold."

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