Where do we carry out our rescues?
The high mountains surrounding the narrow Ullswater Valley are some of the most popular walk-routes in the Lake District, especially Helvellyn with its classic walk across Striding and Swirral Edges. Sections of the very popular Coast-to-Coast long distance footpath also pass through the area and the relatively recently developed Ullswater Way is attracting increasing numbers. They all have their own particular physical challenges and these are exacerbated by quickly changing, and often severe, weather conditions.
For every casualty it is important that we are able to monitor their heart, circulation and breathing - the so called ‘vital signs’ - and use that information to treat them as efficiently and effectively as possible until they’re transferred to hospital. This project aims to provide a new and much improved Vital Signs Monitor to aid this work.
"On the August Bank Holiday in 2017, my dog Rossi and I fell 650ft from Striding Edge. It was touch-and-go for both of us and we wouldn't have made it but for the dedication and expertise of Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team" Paul Robinson, Staffordshire
(Please see photograph at the bottom of this page)
NB. Since winning the opportunity to benefit from the AVIVA Community Fund a member of our Team suffered life-changing injuries following an accident on a call-out on 6th February. Understandably, our Supporters have donated to help Chris manage long term rather than the purchase of this much needed life saving equipment.
Who and what is Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team?
Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team is one of the busiest in the Lake District averaging 90 call-outs annually. The Team is available 24/7, 365 days a year, ready to deal with a wide range of incidents, including searching for missing people, rescuing those in dangerous situations, and treating casualties who have been injured or taken ill. We have rescued and treated injured pets, and occasionally helped farmers retrieve sheepdogs and crag-fast sheep. We assist the Emergency Services more widely when necessary, as in the floods of 2005, 2009 and 2015/16, and are tasked by the Fire Service and HM Coastguard to carry out rescues on the lake. Team members, all of whom are volunteers drawn from many walks of life, include medical professionals, and over half the Team have advanced first aid skills. All are highly trained and experienced mountaineers equipped for dangerous work in the most challenging conditions
Last year the Team successfully raised sufficient funds to purchase a new off-road vehicle, and pay for the extensive modifications necessary for it to support a mountain rescue team operating in difficult terrain. We hope to take delivery of this new vehicle at Easter. Operating costs and major purchases are met through the efforts of our Fundraising Group, our generous Supporters and donations.
What is the next stage?
We look to the AVIVA Community Fund to assist in raising money towards replacing expensive items of specialist equipment such as the Vital Signs Monitor. This is particulary important at a time when our normal fundraising activities have been severely curtailed by the Covid pandemic.
We have identified a ruggedised portable Vital Signs Monitor, developed for demanding and hostile environments and used by the military. This equipment measures and records:-
- electrocardiogram/ECG (heart rhythm)
- blood pressure
- pulse rate
- respiratory rate and the effectiveness of the casualty’s breathing
- core temperature.
- Measuring core temperature has not previously been possible with a portable machine. This innovation can be critically important when we attend casualties who are suffering from exposure (hypothermia), which can be fatal if not identified and treated promptly.
- The second innovation is a telemedicine facility that will allow the rescue party to transmit vital signs data and a video of the casualty to the nearest Accident & Emergency Department for review. In effect, the Resuscitation Room is brought to the fell-side, thus increasing the Team’s ability to save lives.
- In addition to the basic monitoring system we would like to use the funds raised through the AVIVA Community Fund to buy the built-in defibrillator option.
- The Vital Signs Monitor has the ability, in the future, to offer video laryngoscopy to allow a suitably qualified Team member to insert a breathing tube into the windpipe of a badly injured or non-breathing casualty, and ultrasound to identify blood or air in the chest.
Supporting the Local Community
Whilst our core purpose involves search and rescue of visitors and locals alike, the team is frequently called on by the emergency services to assist the community with other tasks, as in bad conditions we have the 4x4 vehicles for accessing difficult areas and transporting casualties/patients as well as excellent communication equipment. For example:
The Team was called to treat and evacuate members of the local community trapped in their homes by the severe floods of 2005, 2009 and 2015, and 3 years ago the Team was asked to assist the Fire and Ambulance Services when a local resident’s car left the road near the lake-shore and landed in a gorge.
In most winters we are tasked by the Police to rescue people trapped by snow and ice in their vehicles on a local mountain pass. The Team would also be called upon to assist in the event of a major incident on the lake, or in the area generally.
Thank you for reading about our project and considering or making a donation.
Below: A very grateful Paul Robinson and his lucky dog Rossi return to thank team members for saving their lives after falling from Striding Edge (Helvellyn).