Over the years, the Team has acquired a range of sophisticated equipment, which has enhanced and extended our capabilities on the fell.
Call out systems and radios
The call-out system makes use of modern mobile communication technology. From anywhere with a mobile or internet signal we can now send a text message to each team members’ mobile phone and their rescue team pager. More recently, we have introduced a system that allows team members to say whether they are responding to a call out by sending a text, which then alerts the rescue team base.
Our radios are efficient across our area and terrain and also light and easy to carry. In 2007, we upgraded our handsets to enable them to transmit locations to the rescue base, thus allowing us to track where team members are and thus keep them even safer. They are specially designed so that we can use them to communicate with rescue and ambulance helicopters, monitor communications from their Air Rescue Co-ordination Centre and also communicate with the County Ambulance Control Unit and its ambulances.
The Team maintains three Land Rover Ambulances fitted with radios for mountain and helicopter communication and a range of specialist equipment, packed and ready to go as soon as needed.
We also have a Rescue Boat, The John Scott, to evacuate casualties across Ullswater or to carry team personnel more directly to casualty sites on the eastern shore of the lake. We work and train regularly with the Coastguard team on the lake and at Maryport, our nearest lifeboat station.
The Team works closely with the RAF Helicopter crews and the Great North Air Ambulance to evacuate casualties efficiently, to gain access to remote areas and to cover ground quickly in a search situation. Members take part in regular training with the crews in order to maintain competence in the various aspects of winching, flying and communicating with aircraft.
A casualty’s blood pressure, temperature, pulse and blood oxygen level can now be monitored on the fell and even transferred from the rescue site to hospital medical staff. The equipment to do this is expensive but vital to the survival of some casualties, especially those suffering from exposure, head injuries or breathing difficulties.
We also carry a defibrillator, oxygen, entonox and a variety of splints, dressings and medicines. A number of members regularly undergo training in Advanced Emergency Care, so that the insertion and maintenance of drips and a wide variety of drugs can be administered on the fell, even if a doctor is not present.
Training and skills
All these requirements and the variety of equipment available means that Team members constantly have to maintain, update and develop their knowledge and skills.
The Team runs a regular training programme, set against a wide training syllabus, and exercises are held at the Base and out on the mountains. Joint exercises with the Coastguard team and with the Air Ambulance are a regular feature of the programme and team members have also invested in Alpine training to ensure that winter mountaineering skills are developed.
All records of incidents, training, members’ logs and team data are held on computer and regularly maintained.