ARE YOU ALL PREPARED?
Note: This Section DOES NOT Offer or Give Medical Advice; No Statement here implies medical advice.
Get a reliable local weather forecast before you set off. You can phone 01392 885680 (the Met Office) for felltop conditions, temperatures, cloudbase, etc. You can also get a very good forecast on line from the Mountain Weather Information Service.
Plan a route that is suitable for the forecasted weather (but expect it to be worse) and suitable for the weakest member of your party, and tell someone responsible what that route is. Have an escape plan.
Make sure you have a map covering your route and a compass. Know how to use both.
Do you know about windchill? At a given air temperature, wind speed reduces the temperature experienced by the body by an amazing amount.
Learn some first aid, and take a first aid kit with you.
Take appropriate clothing including waterproofs, spare warm clothes, hat and gloves, enough food and drink for the planned trip plus a bit extra for the unplanned part. Always take a good torch and a survival bag (if you don’t have one or know what one is get down to you local outdoor shop now, they cost next to nothing and may save your life).
Try to avoid relying on mobile communications or position finding (GPS) technology. It’s all very well until you drop it, its batteries fail, or some bug eats its insides. Or until it becomes too dark to see it and you forgot your torch!
If it all goes wrong, don’t panic. Don’t immediately get out your mobile phone and dial 999 (or your Mum, ‘cos she’ll dial 999 for you), unless it’s a medical emergency. Think; Are we really lost? If we continue this way and end up in the wrong place is it the end of the world? Can we get ourselves out of this? All the best mountaineers have got themselves out of mires so deep their feet wouldn’t have been touching the bottom. Read their books! They all gained from the experience of sorting themselves out.
If you can’t manage without us, work out your 6-figure grid reference, use your mobile phone to dial 999, or send someone (or two if there are enough in your party to leave one behind with the casualty) to the nearest phone and dial 999.
Ask for Cumbria Police, then Mountain Rescue.
You will be put through to the Police. They will contact the appropriate Mountain Rescue Team. You will need to be able to tell them the number of casualties, the nature of the injury or illness and their location with six-figure grid reference. The less information you can give, the longer the process takes. You will need to stay near the phone because the Mountain Rescue Team will want to call you back. You will probably be asked to wait where you are while someone comes to speak to you, although don’t expect ambulances and flashing lights to necessarily come your way, you may not have come down the quickest or easiest way.
The whole process can take several hours, or more. Please don’t expect a helicopter to whiz in and carry out a brief job. This is rare, and it is much more likely to be done on foot.