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Mountain Rescue

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 El Cowling 29 Jul 2022

Are there any mountain rescue teams around the world that are paid and aren’t reliant on a volunteers? If so, do they work better/ worst than UK? 

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 Stichtplate 29 Jul 2022
In reply to El Cowling:

> Are there any mountain rescue teams around the world that are paid and aren’t reliant on a volunteers? If so, do they work better/ worst than UK? 

Yes there are, but I can’t imagine they could be any more exemplary, efficient and effective in performing the job.

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 DerwentDiluted 29 Jul 2022
In reply to El Cowling:

There are, but they struggle to put 100 plus well equipped, well trained, well motivated people with excellent local knowledge on the ground within a few hours for a large search operation, at no more cost to the taxpayer than as many meal deals as Plod can round up from the local Tesco.

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In reply to El Cowling:

Try asking here, inquisitive new member:

https://www.mountain.rescue.org.uk/

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 Bojo 31 Jul 2022
In reply to El Cowling:

I speak not as somebody who is a "frontline" team member but as somebody who is immensely proud to support my local team.

With my hand on my heart I can say that, despite being volunteers, they are professional, dedicated and highly qualified and experience. They are second to none.

I believe that most mountain rescue on the continent is carried out by bodies such as the police. I do not believe that makes them any better at what they do. I think the advantage of having a wholly voluntary organisation is that they are, for want of a better expression, impartial and certainly non-judgemental. They are unconstrained by bureaucracy or other matters.

I am occasionally at base during a "shout" and consider it a privilege to be on hand to observe such professionalism and to be able to prove the numerous essential cups of tea etc. I am happy to give some of my time to things like fund raising - do you know how much it costs to keep a team operational and where that money comes from?

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In reply to El Cowling:

I watched  youtube.com/watch?v=n3QtC0Avw_8& and didn't learn that much (normally his videos are excellent and very informative) but I did learn that in the US there are a small number of mountain rescue teams who get paid because in their locations rescue is the responsibility of the local sheriff dept, but they don't get paid much! I don't think it affects the performance but is a local oddity.

 wintertree 31 Jul 2022
In reply to captain paranoia:

The concept of a highly effective and much respected service that is funded by charitable donations and staffed by volunteers is presumably a growing thorn in the side of the ideologically motivated political right.

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In reply to wintertree:

Not sure everything needs to be framed in terms of political partisan politics.

Let's just be grateful for the efforts of our volunteer rescue service from mountain, cave, mine rescue, RLNI and all the rest of them 

 wintertree 31 Jul 2022
In reply to CantClimbTom:

> Not sure everything needs to be framed in terms of political partisan politics.

No, it doesn't.

But when we have a question posed on the same old topic by a brand new poster that uses a phrase like "reliant on volunteers" as if somehow that's de-facto less good than paid members of staff, it raises a red flag for me.  There's an ideological basis baked right in to their text, isn't there?

I see several people disliked my post.  Perhaps they'd like to share on here the alternate reason they think some person has signed up for a brand spanking new account to ask this question when it's covered ad-nauseam in the archives...

Edit: Speaking of red flags, two really clear grammar errors in the brief OP.

> Let's just be grateful for the efforts of our volunteer rescue service from mountain, cave, mine rescue, RLNI and all the rest of them 

Indeed, I am.  I've never needed any of them, and I hope I never do - but I have supported a couple of them in various ways. 

Edit, come on folks, rather than pressing dislike, share you views on what the OP is up to here?  Some starters for 5 points:

  • Student essay (unlikely given the timing unless it's a postgraduate course)
  • Lazy Journalist 
  • Troll
  • Ideological nudge
  • Other
Post edited at 21:53
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In reply to wintertree:

Not sure. US medical care seems to be keen on philanthropic funding, rather than state funding.

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In reply to Stichtplate:

> Yes there are, but I can’t imagine they could be any more exemplary, efficient and effective in performing the job.

We had this discussion a couple of months ago - Ramon made a pretty strong argument about why the Spanish and (IIRC) Italian mountain rescue teams are better than in the UK. I think his main negative experience had been witnessing a sea cliff rescue though rather than a mountain rescue, but I'm sure like with everything there are some things the UK does well and other things that are done better in other places.

 Graeme G 31 Jul 2022
In reply to El Cowling:

Are you a journalist per chance?

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 Pedro50 31 Jul 2022
In reply to wintertree:

> But when we have a question posed on the same old topic by a brand new poster that uses a phrase like "reliant on volunteers"

> Edit: Speaking of red flags, two really clear grammar errors in the brief OP

A brand new poster WHO not that...

Let he who is without sin... Just saying, not that I disagree with your point. 

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 Stichtplate 31 Jul 2022
In reply to TobyA:

> We had this discussion a couple of months ago - Ramon made a pretty strong argument about why the Spanish and (IIRC) Italian mountain rescue teams are better than in the UK. I think his main negative experience had been witnessing a sea cliff rescue though rather than a mountain rescue, but I'm sure like with everything there are some things the UK does well and other things that are done better in other places.

Aren't sea cliff rescues the domain of a fully paid, professional organisation ie HM coastguard?

 wintertree 31 Jul 2022
In reply to Pedro50:

> A brand new poster WHO not that...

You are jumping to the assumption that it's an actual person and not some form of text bot.  Such things have been known to produce content from time-to-time...

I'm not feeling that charitable.  

I suppose they could be a real person who is that vanishingly rare thing - someone more grammatically challenged than myself...

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 Bojo 31 Jul 2022

Like many such posts, I note there have been no follow ups.

 Dave B 31 Jul 2022
In reply to Stichtplate:

Hm coastguard rescue is often volunteer teams. Exclude the helicopter contract and that's often the case. 

In reply to wintertree:

> The concept of a highly effective and much respected service that is funded by charitable donations and staffed by volunteers is presumably a growing thorn in the side of the ideologically motivated political right.

Not sure about that, I think the political right would love to devolve essential services to the voluntary sector.

On the wider question posed by our brand new OP, I don't think there is any difference in terms of 'professionalism' between volunteer and paid responders.

In either sector the vast majority are consummate professionals who know their job and do it well. In both sectors you occasionally meet people who shouldn't be allowed to leave their house without adult supervision, but for some inexplicable reason, (possibly due to an unshakeable belief in their own awesomeness despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary), seem to have risen to a position they are completely incapable of dealing with.

 Stichtplate 31 Jul 2022
In reply to Dave B:

> Hm coastguard rescue is often volunteer teams. Exclude the helicopter contract and that's often the case. 

Cheers, didn't know that. Still a professional organisation with volunteer support and not MRT so irrelevant to the OP?

 Petrafied 01 Aug 2022
In reply to wintertree:

> Edit, come on folks, rather than pressing dislike, share you views on what the OP is up to here? 

Wouldn't it be relevant to post on why they dislike your post?  I didn't press the button but dislike your post because you seem to have set yourself up as some sort of judge, jury and executioner with regards to the motives of anyone who is new and makes a contribution to the forums.  I would have thought that isn't really any of your business, but purely that of the UKC moderators.  If you don't like a post then there's a report button you can use to alert the moderators.  I know you seem to have a strong fan-base here, but to me you frequently come across as bullying and stiffling.

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 wildebeeste 01 Aug 2022
In reply to wintertree:

I think you have this backwards. In general terms, the right is keen on reducing government services and the taxes that pay for them. Making them fans of voluntary and charitable replacements. Food drives instead of livable benefits, that kind of thing.

 wintertree 01 Aug 2022
In reply to Petrafied:

> Wouldn't it be relevant to post on why they dislike your post? 

Sure.

 > I didn't press the button but dislike your post because you seem to have set yourself up as some sort of judge, jury and executioner 

I’m no executioner.  I’m no fan of reporting posts unless they’re outright offensive.  I’d far rather share my view.  I don’t know why you’d think otherwise.  

I think the OP calls for some remark on its loaded weirdness.  That’s a judgement but not in a judge/jury/executioner sense.  

> I would have thought that isn't really any of your business, but purely that of the UKC moderators.  

Look at at OP. Brief, badly written, opens with a question answerable by 3 seconds on Google, ideologically loaded, brand new account.  At best it’s a witless troll.  

Is that not worthy of noting?  Is there no merit in asking it it’s just a witless troll or if it’s something more?  

> I know you seem to have a strong fan-base here, 

Not really, no.  I hope people tell me when they disagree with me, and they do.  

> but to me you frequently come across as bullying and stiffling.

Well, I have little time for those who distort this place by hiding behind an endless series of ever changing accounts, but I doubt you know anything about that being new around here.  I don’t believe we’ve spoken since you joined? Anyway, you know where the report button is. And the dislike button. Fll your kecks.

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 wintertree 01 Aug 2022
In reply to wildebeeste:

> I think you have this backwards. In general terms, the right is keen on reducing government services and the taxes that pay for them. Making them fans of voluntary and charitable replacements. Food drives instead of livable benefits, that kind of thing.

You and ridge could be right; Captain Paranoia noted the US medical side of things too, Perhaps it’s the lack of profit that’s the affront rather than the staffing and finding models, which as you say are embraced in other places.

In reply to wildebeeste:

> I think you have this backwards...

I agree, I'd see government (local or national) organised service instead of charity to be broadly part of a left ideology 

1
In reply to wintertree:

I was in a team for a few years and I saw it as a logical extension into the mountaineering world of the sort of left wing community activism I was involved in in my twenties. Whether or not other MRT members see it like that or not (I suspect most don't!) it's a pretty perfect example of a self organised mutual aid organisation. From each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs.

On the other hand, as someone else alluded to upthread, they can fall prey to the same sort of bickering and petty politics as any other community group. Some people like to be in charge and the nature of the beast can lead to hierarchies based on who has the most time to give rather than merit. Callouts and trainings can also be fairly shambolic at times - the image of highly professional supermen painted upthread doesn't quite ring true with me! They're imperfect, like everything else, but that just means they deserve our support and involvement to continue to save lives. I think the system we have now is better than any possible alternative.

 ExiledScot 01 Aug 2022
In reply to Stichtplate:

> Cheers, didn't know that. Still a professional organisation with volunteer support and not MRT so irrelevant to the OP?

A coastguard cliff rescue team turning up is often entirely volunteers. Prior to the ending of RAF and Navy SAR they often operated entirely independently, much like a mrt. Now obviously the coastguard has a wider remit, but cliff rescue is still predominantly volunteer based. Add in the fire service who were forced to take a wider skill set as part of their post strike pay deal, which has several remote access teams scattered around the uk now. 

The debate within SAR about future funding, paid, volunteer, insurance etc never goes away, but the one thing everyone agrees on is that they don't want uk sar to be fully funded and insurance driven, regardless of if they are heli crews, cliff rescue, cavers, swift water, rnli and so on, they all love the sense of outdoor users helping each other. 

In reply to El Cowling:

The MRT,s in the UK do a fantastic job, but most of the call outs, Scotland excepted, are for search and rescue. I know it’s necessary to sometimes apply mountaineering and rock climbing techniques on rescues, such as the never ending Crib Goch and crag fast idiots sagas, but in the main motivated volunteers can undertake most rescues. This is not true in the Alps where full time personnel with expensive resources and helicopters are required. Many of the members of the the full time PGHM in France are also cutting edge mountaineers and skiers, as qualified as guides. Only a well resourced and professional team can in short order rescue someone off the Walker spur and then undertake other complicated call outs the same day, all through the year. The terrain dictates that the rescue services must be well funded, highly trained fully professional mountaineers and this is why insurance is required.

In reply to Pedro50:

> A brand new poster WHO not that...

> Let he who is without sin... Just saying, not that I disagree with your point.

A jury might find Wintertree's grammar innocent if it assumed the pronoun related to  'question' rather than 'poster':

"When we have a question (posed on the same old topic by a brand-new poster) THAT uses...

In reply to Ridge:

Interestingly in the news today it appears that volunteer St John's Ambulance crews are going to start responding to 999 calls.

 Stichtplate 01 Aug 2022
In reply to pancakeandchips:

> Interestingly in the news today it appears that volunteer St John's Ambulance crews are going to start responding to 999 calls.

Separate issue, but watering down the standard of service by chucking in the unpaid and undertrained is at best a sign of desperation, at worst a cynical ploy to massage response time figures and mask the on going disaster in primary care.

 veteye 01 Aug 2022
In reply to wintertree:

You mention Petrafied being new. Just because they are new does not mean that they don't have a point. You play into their hands by giving a slightly bullying reply, and you don't deny that tactic in the reply.

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 Rob Exile Ward 01 Aug 2022
In reply to wildebeeste:

> I think you have this backwards. In general terms, the right is keen on reducing government services and the taxes that pay for them. Making them fans of voluntary and charitable replacements. Food drives instead of livable benefits, that kind of thing.'

Er no, especially here in the UK - that may be what they say they want but it isn't how they act.

What they really like - and have refined the model over the last 30 years - is to take a nice, fat juicy institution funded by taxation - the NHS say, or defence 'research', or the prison service - and by 'delivering' a service (I use the word ironically), skim a significant proportion of the revenue to shareholders and management. And all without the hassle of actually having to deliver a service that people would pay for on the open market.

It's perfect!

1
In reply to wintertree:

I’m not sure about that, it fits in quite well with the idea that charity is better than state provision, which is very much favoured by the right.

I think in the U.K. it is very much as case of us making it work (mountain rescue, RNLI) because a well funded state alternative isn’t available. Of course there is a state funded element to both mountain and sea rescue, but is separate from the volunteer teams.

 John Gresty 01 Aug 2022
In reply to El Cowling:

I saw  a Coastguard Seacliff rescue team practicing recently. A mixture of very professional personel and trainees. All top notch gear and a very high tech, compact winch unit. They certainly knew their stuff.

I do wonder if some areas that bill themselves as 'Adventure Capitals' should have  fully professional rescue teams as part of their responsibilities. Do people visiting these places expect there to be a fully professional rescue service ?

John

In reply to veteye:

I think you missed the allusion to Petrafied being the latest incarnation of a long-time member. The 'new member' bit was sarcasm.

In reply to pancakeandchips:

> Interestingly in the news today it appears that volunteer St John's Ambulance crews are going to start responding to 999 calls.

They've been doing that, on a commercial basis, for some time.

 fred99 01 Aug 2022
In reply to Ridge:

> Not sure about that, I think the political right would love to devolve essential services to the voluntary sector.

Only so long as they can appoint one of their own as a highly (over)paid bureaucrat to supervise -  and someone who knows diddly squat about it to boot.

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 wintertree 01 Aug 2022
In reply to The New NickB:

> I’m not sure about that, it fits in quite well with the idea that charity is better than state provision, which is very much favoured by the right.

Thanks; quite a few posters saying similar things.  Looks like my cynicism meter is well out of calibration.   So that leaves "lazy troll" and "lazy journalist" as interpretations for the OP....

> I think in the U.K. it is very much as case of us making it work (mountain rescue, RNLI) because a well funded state alternative isn’t available.

There's a lot to be said for "it it ain't broke, don't fix it" as well.  

 Trangia 01 Aug 2022
In reply to El Cowling:

I think that Air Zermatt are partially if not all commercially funded, I believe they do sightseeing flights to help raise funds. They appear to be very professional, but I'm not sure whether they are a mixture of paid staff and volunteers?

 Harry Jarvis 01 Aug 2022
In reply to El Cowling:

I'm surprised no one has mentioned the book 'Cairngorm John, by John Allen. This is an interesting account of the author's role in helping to develop the MRT in the Cairngorms. Although much of the book is taken up with descriptions of search and rescue operations, there are also interesting discussions about the voluntary role, and about some of the issues with funding and the involvement of statutory and commercial organisations - most notably the police in the former instance and providers of helicopter services in the latter. 

In reply to wintertree:

> Thanks; quite a few posters saying similar things. 

Rob Exile Ward makes a good point about "what they really like", though...

In reply to Trangia:

I think rescue in Switzerland, which is paid for, claim to be able to reach any point in the country within 20minutes. You have to buy insurance (or pay *lots*). I don't think UK reduce can match this however capable the individual people and teams

You can also buy top up.cow rescue insurance.

 wbo2 06 Aug 2022
In reply to El Cowling:  Locally in Norway search and rescue is largely volunteer based with professional support as required.

This has in the past led to friction as the local tourist org likes to promote various trips and then relies on unpaid volunteers to go and collect tourists when it snows, get stuck in the dark etc., which a few years ago , happened on several nights back to back

 Welsh Kate 06 Aug 2022
In reply to Bojo:

Hadn't seen this thread previously, and Bojo's reply has made me smile. Volunteers who support Mountain Rescue in the way you do are priceless, and there's no i in team as they say (well, there is in Welsh, but never mind!!). Everyone contributes to ops whether that's the incident controller, the parties on the hill, or the person making tea at the end of it. 

We regard ourselves as volunteer professionals, and in some areas of operation we have levels of skill that you'd struggle to find easily available elsewhere in the emergency services. As a couple of other posters have noted, we can also turn out in large numbers without that having a knock-on impact on other parts of the emergency services - imaging having to pull 20 or 30 police officers off their duties to search for a missing hillwalker and them stretcher them off to the ambulance. But having 20 or 30 people sitting around much of the time waiting for a callout to happen probably woudn't be good value for money if they were a full-time resource, even for the very busy teams (and I'm in one of the busiest in England & Wales).

Whatever the intent behind the OP's question, I think there are areas of the world where SAR is carried out by full-time paid folk and others where it's carried out on a voluntary basis. Hopefully those set-ups are the most appropriate for the areas, terrain & types of callouts. The voluntary basis model seems to work pretty well for the UK.

 Bojo 20:08 Sun
In reply to Welsh Kate:

Thank you for your kind comments about MRT supporters.

In reply to wintertree:

> Thanks; quite a few posters saying similar things. 

Big Society init. That humming <edit> numpty <edit> Cameron was all in favour.

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