Tough times call for tough measures, and rescue organisations such as Kerry Mountain Rescue Team are of the same view when it comes to the safety of its volunteer members.
Last weekend saw a spike in the number of people climbing mountains. Kerry Mountain Rescue Team (KMRT) have outlined the following guidelines during the current Covid-19 crisis.
When calling out the Team to an incident, their first-priority is the safety of team members and their families. KMRT are all volunteers, many of whom live with and care for ‘vulnerable’ people at home and in their working lives.
If you call 999 and ask for Mountain Rescue, they will of course do what they can to assist, however…
– If you are uninjured, lost or benighted, you will be asked to consider waiting until morning, and/or better visibility to extricate yourself.
– If you are ‘walking wounded’ you will be asked to consider extricating yourself from the mountain.
– If you are seriously injured, and/or not physically able to get yourself off the hill, the mountain rescue team will only attend with the absolute minimum of team members needed to complete the task, and because of this restricted crew turn-out, the evacuation will be less straightforward and the overall time to transport you to medical attention will be much longer.
Helicopter support will only be requested if a time critical injury is sustained.
Kerry Mountain Rescue Team have emphasised these measures are necessary to protect team members and their families at this time.
A spokesperson for KMRT said “Covid-19 is a very serious threat and it’s time everyone faced up to their responsibilities in order to limit the spread of the virus. Government guidelines have been very clear about physical distancing and many people have chosen to ignore this, putting everyone at risk. By its very nature, mountain rescue requires close contact between both rescuers and casualty, exposing everyone to the risk of infection. Remember, we could also infect you! Our already over-burdened hospitals don’t need or want any avoidable admissions over this difficult period.”
Kerry Mountain Rescue are asking walkers to forego their enjoyment of the hills for the moment and to stick to lowland paths and walkways, while strictly observing social distancing principles. Otherwise there may come a time when the team may not be able to respond at all.
“Let’s all put our shoulder to the wheel now and do our bit. Be Responsible, Stop the Spread. Remember, the mountains will always be there.”
Pic: Kerry Mountain Rescue Team