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Emergencies in mountainous and remote areas are complicated due to the difficulty the emergency services experience in accessing the injured; life and limb can be saved by being prepared.

  • Ensure First Aid equipment is available within the group

  • Be prepared for the emergency and have spare clothes to wear whilst providing emergency treatment or waiting for rescue

  • Speak about emergencies and medical conditions. These conversations help to prepare the group for an emergency

  • Consider attending a first aid course to better prepare yourself

  • I really like one of the Norwegian Mountain Safety Rules, especially: "Bring the necessary equipment so you can help yourself and others"

Cloudy Day


Stay Calm and make sure everyone is safe



Can you cope?

Do you need help?

Image by Priscilla Du Preez


Calling for help in the mountains

  • Ensure nobody else gets injured

  • Consider finding shelter i.e. group shelter

  • Assess the scene. What has happened? What injury's might they have?

  • If the injury is minor and with some effort evacuation is possible; then carry on.

  • If the injury is more serious or evacuation is not possible then;

    • Identify your location*

      • Grid Reference of location, failing that;​

      • Rough description of location "half way along Striding Edge"

    • Make sure you can be found 

    • Stay where you are!

*Be cautious with What3Words. It is useful if you have great signal and if you roughly know where you are but can't explain to someone else. Of 22 call-outs involving what3words locations in the Lake District during early 2020, 18 were accurate but 4 were way out. In some places, this can mean a different summit or valley altogether – maybe even a different rescue team’s area!

  • Call 999 or 112

  • Ask for "Police"

  • When Police answer ask for "Mountain Rescue"

  • Provide them with:

    • Location:

      • a grid reference if possible or,

      • What3Words

    • Name, gender and age of casualty

    • Nature of injuries or emergency

    • Number of people in the party

    • Your mobile phone number. Preserve battery and keep your phone available in case they need to call back​

  • Now stay put! Don't start moving as you will make it hard to find you​



You can also send an SMS to 999, but you need to be registered on the system beforehand.

  • To Register:

    • Text Register to 999 and follow the instructions.

  • To send an SMS message to 999​

    • Step 1 - Which service, what is happening, where is it happening​

      • e.g. "Police, Mountain Rescue. Man unconscious with head injury from falling from height approx 7m. Location: Kinder Downfall, near Edale. Grid Reference SK0824/8884​"

    • Step 2 - Now send the message to 999​

      • It can take around 2 minutes for an emergency responder to message you back.

        • Do not assume your message has sent until you get a response.

        • Continue to try other methods to raise the alarm.

        • If you have not had a response after 3 minutes, send the message again. 

Image by Tom Jur


Providing First Aid

If you call for help then first aid advice will be given by the 999 operator.​

  • Provide care in-line with your level of training

  • It may be appropriate to improvise with your first aid kit due to a lack of equipment

  • Protect the casualty from the elements

  • Ensure the casualty is warm and dry

  • Re-assure the casualty

  • Continue to care for the casualty and check that they are breathing until help arrives. In  the mountains this could be hours!

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