The Fell Rescue column with David Dennis

The rescue teams have front line medics who are able to deal with serious injuries.
The rescue teams have front line medics who are able to deal with serious injuries.

If you are out walking in the wild areas of the Dales, I wonder if you’ve paused to think? What would happen if you fell and broke your ankle? Or if you were out on the fells and came across someone having a heart attack?

What would you do?

If you need mountain rescue:

First, make a note of all relevant details:

l Location (with a grid reference if possible)

l Name, gender and age of casualty

l Nature of injuries or emergency

l Number of people in the party

l Your mobile phone number.

Dial 999 or 112, then ask for ‘Police’ then ‘Mountain Rescue’.

Give all your prepared details of the incident and stay where you are until contacted by the rescue team.

We are one of the Dales rescue teams who are on call day and night, every day of the year, specifically to help out in circumstances like this.

The team is made up of about 70 volunteers, who make themselves available to attend mountain, cave or water rescues.

Of them, there are currently 25 who have undertaken an advanced course in casualty care. These are the front line medics who will be able to deal with serious injuries and also medical emergencies, above or below ground in Nidderdale, Wharfedale and Littondale and surrounding areas.

One member who passed the casualty care course in January, said: “It’s certainly a demanding qualification.

“It took me much of December to read the books and then in January I attended training nights and weekends which ended with an exam held in a cave, for extra reality.”

He went on: “The final bit is very stressful. It’s a long time since most of us took exams.

“The presence of hospital consultants and GPs as examiners and very life-like volunteer patients, all in the daunting darkness of a cave... well, I was right glad to pass!”

At the end of the arduous course, these volunteers have an impressive knowledge and set of skills and are able to provide life-saving techniques in emergencies.

Teams carry defibrillators to resuscitate patients in the event of cardiac arrests.

Importantly, the highly trained volunteers are able to provide pain relief to those patients who injure themselves.

This is so important as it allows patients to be carried on a stretcher to the nearest vehicle, in relative comfort.

One of our team doctors said: “I am so impressed by the level of commitment shown by the volunteers.

They come from all walks of life and at the end of their training are able to deliver a very high level of care.

These guys will put aside their jobs and their family time and rush to help another outdoor enthusiast. It’s quite a sacrifice.”

Much has changed since our formation in 1948. And the team has kept pace with medical advances.

A defibrillator is now so portable that it can fit into a small rucksack.

Medical gas cylinders are now lighter.

We have recently purchased an advanced training manikin dummy and this is allowing realistic simulation as part of training.