Mountain Rescue

20 messages
05/12/2005 at 17:53
I'd just like to say thank you for a very interesting and informative article on the 'real' mountain rescue service. It was great to hear it from someone who does the job with no media 'hype' or sensationalism.

I was surprised to read that you should ask for the police first in the event of an accident in the hills. I'd always been led to believe that you dialled the emergency services and then asked for mountain rescue. Something to remember along with the accident statistics provided by the interviewee. It just makes it all the more annoying that one slip in the hills leads to cries of irresponsibility, legislative regulation and insurance when a domestic accident, which is far more likely, is considered to be part of life's rich tapestry.

05/12/2005 at 18:16
The reasons that all mountain and cave rescue calls are routed and initiated by the Police are two fold.

1, It invokes the insurance element of a call out in that all calls are then deemed to be "official." If rescue teams respond other than through the Police, then they have no public liability insurance!

2, The BT 999 operator needs to put the call through to a 24 hours STATUTORY ERC (emergency call centre) With the voluntary nature of mountain/cave rescue, there are no "civilian" centres capable of being on 24 hour cover to take calls. BT has a statutory duty to put the call through to such a centre and the Police have this capability.

In addition to this, Calls are also geographically distinct, with differing call out procedures covering a vast range of different voluntary teams. It s for this reason that national ERCs like the Coastguard for example do not take regional calls. (no substitute for local knowledge)
05/12/2005 at 18:19
In other words if you ask for mountain or cave rescue, you will be connected to the Police control room covering that area. Some have dedicated lines so might answer as "rescue," but my experience has been that the caller is in no doubt that they have been connected to the Police!
05/12/2005 at 18:33
thanks for that tony.
i agree that it was most interesting article from the horse's mouth. and showed the sheer dedication of that corps.
06/12/2005 at 17:27
Aye, thanks for that Tony.
12/01/2006 at 14:23

When you dial 999 the emergency operator will ask you which service you require and you can ask for police (and then mountain rescue) but they are trained to direct calls appropriately when asked for mountain (or cave) rescue. Most police control rooms have a separate call handling area for such calls.

As has been pointed out all calls for mountain or cave rescue are then directed to the appropriate police control room. This can sometimes be problematic when mobile phones are used from high ground as the callers location is determined by the nearest mobile phone mast! For example a mobile call in the northern Yorkshire Dales could end up at a Durham or Cumbrian police control room.

From the control room the supervisor (usually a senior police officer) will activate the appropriate response. Most police forces have an automated ‘touch-screen’ system that helps them select the right MR team and then calls their controller/leader.

From this point the controller/leader is briefed on the nature of the incident (rescue/search/etc) and he will then initiate an appropriate response from the MR team.

Anyone calling for mountain rescue should always bear in mind that team members are unpaid volunteers and when ‘called-out’ have to prepare, leave home/work and travel to the incident location or team depot (without blue lights or sirens) before hitting the hill. All this means that in most upland or remote areas it usually takes at least an hour (sometimes much longer) for a team to reach a casualty.
14/12/2010 at 09:41
Also, bear in mind that if you ask for "mountain rescue" you may get a call centre operator in Suffolk looking down the list of things they can connect to and finding "Fire and Rescue". Its happened a few times in my area and you end up with a fire engine at the bottom of the crag.

31/03/2011 at 04:14
i agree that it was most interesting article from the horse's mouth. and showed the sheer dedication of that corps.
Parky Again wrote (see)
thanks for that tony.
i agree that it was most interesting article from the horse's mouth. and showed the sheer dedication of that corps.

me too

i agree


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31/03/2011 at 15:41

As a strange coincidence, yesterday I posted some guidelines on calling out a Lake District Mountain Rescue team on the 40sWalkersNorth website.   Here they are:

If you, or someone in your party, has an accident whilst out walking in the Lake District, and need the assistance of Mountain Rescue, then this is what you should do:

- First of all, DON'T panic.   Write down the facts of the accident, e.g. female, broken ankle, Catbells, Grid ref: NYXXXX.

- Dial 999 and ask for Cumbria Police.   Make sure it is Cumbria Police, because the call may have been routed to a response centre outside of the Lake District.

- Tell them where you are - providing a grid ref if possible - and give details of the casualty, injury and location.

- Stay where you are (so that you don't lose your signal) and keep your mobile phone line free until contacted by the Mountain Rescue Team.   Then follow the Rescue Controller's instructions.

More advice from the Lake District Search & Mountain Rescue Association here:

If you can't get a signal and have already registered your phone with the Emergency SMS Service, then send a text stating something similar to the following:

     Cumbria Mountain Rescue, man, heart attack, Bowfell

Then send the text message to 999.

If you haven't already registered your phone with the emergency text service, then it's a good idea to do so now - before you may need it.

31/03/2011 at 16:11

As a matter of interest does anyone know if the message from Shea Mary..... is from a bot of some description?

It is odd that a message from 2 years ago gets resurrected and nothing of any value is added to the discussion, other than a link to an online service!

Valid advice from Lorraine though

Steve D

Not all those who wander are lost.

31/03/2011 at 16:19

It's definitely a spammer of some sort!

But it's always good to be reminded of the procedure - and the amount of time it can take to get MR on scene!

31/03/2011 at 16:29

I know Kate, I used to be on one.  We were on the spot and it could still take a some time to get sorted and on the go, especially if we were called out of the pub!  More than once we arrived about the same time as the helicopter, and that was coming from the other side of the country!!

Steve D

Not all those who wander are lost.

31/03/2011 at 17:04
I think I have unrealistic expectations, having had an MR team appear as if by magic within 2 minutes of me having an accident!!
31/03/2011 at 17:17
Are you sure they didn't trip you up....   just to get the practice?!!
31/03/2011 at 17:33
lol! The team member who was a paramedic (to whom of course I'm genuinely grateful) was way too bloody happy to have a real casualty!!
01/04/2011 at 10:58

Somewhat embarrassingly one of our instructors had an 'incident' whilst taking a party caving, fortunately there was a cave rescue training day going on in the same system and they sorted everything out for her.

Unfortunately for her, the guy that organised the training day was head of caving at the the centre where we worked, it took a while to live that one down!

Steve D

Not all those who wander are lost.

01/11/2011 at 04:53
You gotta love spammers who can't do hyperlinks, boss dog wont be happy, and neither will they come pay day.

Include a little history in your walks. Pecsaetan - Ancient Derbyshire, Staffordshire and South Yorkshire -

19/11/2011 at 08:13
Are Mountain Rescue trained in any sort of crime scene preservation out of interest?
19/11/2011 at 09:24

Any particular incident in mind, Bedouin?

Anything planned?

16/12/2011 at 22:31
Bedders - yes, it's something we have training on from time to time. 
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