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  • Oliver Hodgson

Mountain Rescue teams thank the public

The leaders of the twelve Lake District Mountain Rescue teams would like to thank our local community fell walkers for their continued understanding and support over the past 8 weeks keep- ing to low level walks for exercise and keeping our mountain rescue team volunteers safe. This has maintained the number of rescues down to very low levels. Only 11 incidents since lockdown on the 23rd March compared to nearly 90 over the same period in 2019.

They said "We fully appreciate that some point we would need to change our position following the more relaxed rules on travel for exercise.

"Although Cumbria and many other national parks are not ready yet to cope with the increased numbers of visitors, the visitors to the Lake District have increased dramatically, heading to the high fells in great numbers, and many very ill-prepared. We have therefore seen an increase in the numbers of callouts in the past two weeks and our teams are slowly becoming more proficient in the new way of working, providing casualty care and rescue. Teams have adopted very robust procedures for protecting our casualties and volunteers. This is because both our casualties and team members may have the virus but not yet show the symptoms (asymptomatic).

"Our procedures include the wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE), maintaining social distancing where possible and decontamination processes at the incident site.

"All this will inevitably slow down the rescue. This is unfortunately unavoidable and we ask for your patience and understanding if you are unfortunate in having an accident or medical emergency. We will come to your aid but it will take longer than usual. Becoming lost or overdue is fully avoidable and there is guidance provided below to help avoid having to call out the teams.

"What can you personally do to help our volunteer teams? Exercise within your limits and avoid taking risks. Know your level of skill, competence and experience and those of your partner. Make sure you have the right equipment for your trip to the hills and valleys noting that many of our callouts are low down in the valley bottoms.

"Learn how to navigate, don't rely on smartphone technology it can let you down (Wasdale Mountain Team’s last incident could have been so easily avoided with the correct equipment and skill in the traditional map and compass work). Take a torch, even on the longest days, you never know when your activity will catch you out or you go to the help of a fallen, cragfast or lost walker. "

The government's slogan is ‘Be Alert’ and to apply Common Sense’

Be alert to the risks you are placing on yourself and our volunteers Be alert to the longer time it will take for teams to get help to you Be alert that we have limited quantities of personal protective equipment Be alert that we must decontaminate our equipment, vehicles and clothes afterwards Be alert that Cumbria’s infrastructure is still not fully ready to cope with the surge of visitors

So very much ‘Be Alert’ - Be kind to our volunteers and respectful to our emergency service, our rural communities and to our farmers.

There is great and essential advice on the UK website #AdventureSmart make your good day better!

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