Walkers advised over emergency calls in the mountains

With winter weather really starting to bite now in Scotland’s mountains, climbers and walkers are being advised of the best way to get help in the event of an accident.

Because mountains and remote areas are beyond the road network and the reach of the ambulance service, any emergency call must be to Mountain Rescue.

heather_morning_2014Heather Morning, Mountain Safety Advisor for the Mountaineering Council of Scotland said: “No-one likes to think it will be them who gets into difficulties in the mountains, but sadly people do, for all sorts of reasons, and on average each year Scottish Mountain Rescue Teams are called out 750 times.

“If an accident happens to you or one of your party, the situation may be so serious that professional help is required.

“If you have a mobile phone signal, dial 999 and ask for ‘Police and Mountain Rescue’. Remember ambulances cannot leave a surfaced road! If you are having difficulties getting through on 999, try 112 the European wide emergency number.”

When reception on mobiles is limited, it may be possible to send a text message where a voice call is not possible. To have that option to send a text to 999, you must have pre-registered your phone by texting the word ‘REGISTER’ to 999. This is a free registration and takes seconds to set up, but can be an invaluable lifeline in an emergency.

Once contact is made there is certain information that will be essential.

  • The location of the casualty, in the form of a Grid Reference.

  • Your name and the name of the casualty.

  • Brief details of the incident.

It will also help the emergency services to know what clothing and equipment you and your party have, and any medical conditions you know about – for example, if the casualty is diabetic.

If it is not possible to make any form of contact with a mobile phone – although walking uphill for a distance may bring you within range of a signal – it may be necessary to send someone to summon help. They should take a written note of the details above so that nothing is forgotten.

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You should always carry a backup means of navigation and not rely on a single phone, app or map. Walking can be dangerous and is done entirely at your own risk. Information is provided free of charge; it is every walker's responsibility to check it and to navigate safely.