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Guest blog: Volunteering for an emergency MRT rescue

Written by Fiona May 10 2012

When my running friend Animal Magic signed on the dotted line to become a volunteer for a Mountain Rescue training evening she had no idea what to expect. Here she writes about the experience:

I’ve done one or two unexpected things in my life after a glass or two of wine, but signing myself up as a possible volunteer casualty for the Lomond Mountain Rescue Team at the Banff Mountain Film Festival was a new one.

I blame my friend Christine for cajoling me into the bizarre episode. While she recommended me as a “perfect volunteer” I recommended her, too, with the now legendary words: “Petite nurse, will be very light for stretcher practice…” I felt sure she would get the call.

But several weeks later, when I had forgotten all about the signature on the dotted line, I suddenly received an email asking for volunteers to “go up to the Queen’s View on the road to Loch Lomond.” It seems I’d been selected. And so had Petite Nurse Christine!

The sun was shining, the Queen’s View was a short drive down the road, so how could we refuse?

That evening, the Mountain Rescue Team had three casualties to locate, assess and rescue. The scenario was a university hill race that had gone slightly awry. Christine was lost. I was facing a medical emergency having suffered an asthma attack, which left me unable to walk off the hill.

I had no idea what was happening with the Petite Nurse, but my nightmare worsened as my signals for help were halted when the batteries in my torch gave up. I wasn’t allowed to shout for help because of the asthma attack.

From my position on the hill I could see the recue being organised and launched. After triangulating my approximate coordinates, a team had set off to find me. They systematically swept down the hill and gradually drew close enough to hear my simulated wheezes and quiet calls for help.

I can easily imagine how grateful people in real emergency situations are to see the mountain rescue team arrive. I was quickly assessed, offered oxygen and snacks and somehow managed to be the one stretchered off the hill. All 5’10” of me!

Luckily there were eight rescuers to share the load and after a few minutes the exercise was ended, and I walked off with the team.

I was immensely impressed with the professionalism of the team, how well they worked together and that everyone there was a volunteer.

As well as completing courses in mountaineering and first aid, members of the Lomond Mountain Rescue team train three times a month, two Thursday evenings and a Sunday, in addition to being on call for actual mountain rescues.

Funding of Lomond Mountain Rescue is entirely by charitable donations. At the moment the team are fundraising for a replacement rescue vehicle. If you would like to read more about the Lomond Mountain Rescue Team, volunteer as a casualty for a training session or make a donation follow this link to the Lomond Mountain Rescue website.

PS. Christine made it off the hill safely, too. But she got to walk!

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