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  • Oliver Hodgson

"Travel to Open spaces but not the Mountains," says mountain rescue teams

The leaders of the twelve Lake District Mountain Rescue teams wish to reinforce the message about staying off the high fells as it is "not a considerate place to go".

The teams wrote "We cannot stress enough the importance of staying off the high fells.

"Apart from helping to protect our volunteers from the risk of Covid19 infection from a casualty, or indeed a fellow team member who is not showing symptoms, it helps reduce the workload on our NHS. Over the past 7 weeks since the introduction of the stay at home policy, our region has received just seven ‘999’ calls for help.

"Over the same 50 day period in 2019, our teams dealt with 70 callouts, including 32 injuries and 14 medical emergencies. This equates to nearly 50 fewer ambulances and 50 fewer casualties requiring NHS treatment in our A&E Departments. This shows the real value of your help in saying of the high fells so a big thank you for your consideration and kindness.

"But from tomorrow we are anticipating real problems for our volunteer teams and our communities. We, like every one of our Cumbrian partners, are expecting a surge of visitors to the lakes, many not feel fit and wanting to climb the mountains, or hit those mountain bike trials. Cumbria has one of the highest infection rates in the country and we cannot afford to have our team members infected.

"One team member becoming infected after a rescue can result in one of our 10 mountain rescue teams quarantined for 14 days. The impact on our response times will, therefore, be significant as the numbers of on-call volunteers diminish, many being health care professionals.

"The government's new slogan is ‘Be Alert’ and our Prime Minister asks everyone to ‘Apply Common Sense’ and ‘Be Kind’

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 not ready to cope with a surge of visitors So very much ‘Be Alert’ but also ‘Be Kind’

"Be kind to our volunteers and our emergency service, be kind to our rural communities and be kind to our farmers."

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