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Mountain Rescue Committee of Scotland

MRCofS Information   MREW Information
MOUNTAIN RESCUE is the legal responsibility of the Police and they should be your first point of contact (dial 999). The Police co-ordinate the rescue, once an alarm has been raised, and will call out the appropriate Mountain Rescue team(s). These teams are made up of unpaid volunteers from all walks of life. Regular training exercises are held to maintain the necessary standard of efficiency.
MOUNTAIN RESCUE involves the organisation of many individuals (in excess of 100 on occasions), communication and co-ordination with other emergency services, transportation of rescue personnel, access to search areas, the location of casualties and finally their evacuation to safety.

Ask yourself the following :- How long does it take after an incident to raise the alarm; transport the team to the scene; co-ordinate the rescue; search for and find the casualties; evacuate them to safety and finally transport the casualties to hospital? With air support, in favourable weather, the casualties could be hospitalised within a short space of time, whereas in extreme winter conditions the rescue operation may last days.
Avalanche probe.
Avalanche probe
A rescue attempt may be hindered by any of the following :-
Helicopter approach
Helicopter approach
Remoteness - hills can be very remote and raising the alarm could take hours, assuming there is someone to raise the alarm!
Location - where are the casualties? If no route plan is available where do rescuers begin their search?
Nightfall - rescue attempts late in the day may be hampered by darkness or postponed until first light the next day.
Weather - atrocious weather conditions may delay the transportation of the rescue team to the scene and any subsequent rescue. In white-out conditions and gale force winds the chances of success are reduced dramatically.
Evacuation - in difficult weather conditions recovering the casualties may take several hours if air support is not an option.
ESSENTIAL EQUIPMENT for any mountaineer includes waterproof clothing, warm inner layer, correct footwear, map and compass, survival bag, torch and batteries, whistle, emergency rations and a basic First Aid kit. In winter an ice-axe and crampons are vital. With today's modern technological advances, personal location beacons (PLB's), global positioning systems (GPS) and mobile telecommunications may be available to the hillwalker, but these should be seen only as a back-up to tried and tested basic hillcraft. Stretcher rescue
Stretcher rescue
BE PREPARED your survival may depend on it. Always leave behind a route plan and contact telephone number. Check weather conditions, do not take risks and turn back if necessary - the mountains will be there to enjoy another day.

Mountain rescue in Scotland Mountain rescue in England & Wales

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Last Update : 13th April 2014