It can be great fun taking part in a mountain climb or hike. Reaching the summit can be an enormous achievement after hours of steadily getting closer and closer to the top, however, accidents are not uncommon and can be life-threatening in certain situations. To help you understand what to do, we've put together our top tips to enable you to stay safe.
In an Emergency
Always carry a compass, strong torch and a mountain whistle - and know how to use them. The emergency signal is six long blasts on the whistle or six torch flashes repeated every minute. Firstly, it is important for everyone to keep calm and follow the ABC procedure:
A - Check the Airways
B - Check for Breathing
C - Check for Circulation
Remember! Do not move the casualty if you suspect broken bones and especially injuries related to the head, neck or spine. In extreme circumstances, the only exception to this is if you and the casualty are in a position where further severe danger can occur.
In an emergency call 999 or 112, ask for Police and then ask for Mountain Rescue. Remember to speak quickly but clearly. You will then be asked to give a CHALET report:
C - Casualties
Who is injured, how many of you are in the group, names, age, and type of injury (unconscious, possible broken leg, head injury, drowning)
H - Hazards
Is it raining, severe winds, wild animals, any falling debris or rock? Mention anything else that could potentially cause more danger to yourself or the casualty.
A - Access
Give the name of the mountain you are on, and the type of terrain. Were you climbing uphill or flat? What can you see? Are there any distinguishing features around you? If you have got a bright tent or sleeping bag it can be used as a marker to help the mountain rescue find you.
L - Location
Map co-ordinates are ideal. Let them know if you have been using a traditional map or a GPS system. An approximate mountain height is also useful, as is the length of time you have been walking.
E - Equipment
Do you have a torch, whistle, flags, enough food and water? Packing emergency food rations can help in these circumstances - these should include high energy snacks, a hot drink and a hot meal. Sleeping bags and space blankets are great for warmth; if you have a tent that is able to be put up on the mountain, this can also be used for shelter and warmth for the casualty.
T - Type of incident.
After you have finished making the call, you should then contact your travel insurance provider's medical helpline for advice on what to do next. If you hear or see a whistle or torch call from another person, follow the CHALET procedure and try to help if possible. However, it is important to not put yourself in unnecessary danger.
If you are deaf, hard of hearing, have a speech impediment or unable to make a telephone call, you can now contact the emergency services (999) via text messaging. The service is free to use but needs to be set up prior to travel. To register, simply text 'register' to 999 and then follow the instructions. When using the service in an emergency write 'Police-Mountain Rescue' at the beginning of your message.
Remember that once you reach the mountain summit it is not the end of your journey! You still have to get back down and accidents, such as slipping and falling, are more likely to happen on your descent. This is why it is important to purchase adequate travel insurance cover for any planned mountain activity.
If you found this mountain safety article to be helpful, then please spread the world to others... You never know, it could help them too! Got some tips for us about mountain safety and rescue? Get in touch and let us know!
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