The Mountain Rescue Service
The North of Ireland is served by 2 voluntary Mountain Rescue Teams: The Belfast area is served by the North West Team who (despite the geography implied in their name) provide search, rescue and recovery services throughout all of Northern Ireland .
The North West Team has nearly 50 members and includes two specialist search dog handlers, senior paramadics, and experienced climbers. Search and Rescue call-outs are initiated by the police service.
The team is made up of volunteers who commit to an average of 150 hours a year to the service. Members are asked to travel to any part of Northern Ireland and, in addition, will respond to requests for support from other parts of Ireland. Since 2010 the team has responded to more than 70 call-outs.
Team member and search dog
As we can't really expect people to get lost or injured only on nice sunny days, the Team is trained to work in very adverse weather conditions in hazardous locations and often for long periods of time.
We can only undertake this work safely if each team member achieves and maintains appropriate levels of fitness and the necessary levels of skill in navigation, first-aid, rope work, and camp craft. During a call-out our own safet,y and the safety of any casualty we may have to rescue, depend critically on the team's ability to operate as a single unit .
Why We Need Your Support
Team members are all volunteers who, in addition to giving their time, also purchase most of their own personal gear such as boots, rucksacks, torches, protective clothing etc. However, we depend on support from the public to run and maiintain our specialist equipment. For example, our 3 specially equipped Landrovers last year covered 23,000 miles and our specialist mountain recovery stretchers cost £2,000 each. Every penny raised by you during in this festival will be used to directly support our work.
TheTeam promotes safe use of the many wonderful remote and rugged spaces within Northern Ireland (the Sperrin Mountains, the Hills and Glens of Antrim,, the Fermanagh Lakes) and provides a year round search, recovery and rescue service. The Team responds to call-outs 365 days a year at any time of the day or night. In addition to mountain and hill rescues, we are also called out to assist with searches in costal, river bank and forested areas, and in some of the province's urban parks.
Where people (and sometimes animals) are lost or injured in remote or mountainous terrain, the police can call on our services. We are usually tasked to find, treat and recover casualties to a place of safety - typically this means guiding, carrying or coordinating a helicopter pick-up.