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The Magazine of



The future of Search and Rescue in the UK

Supported by the Order of St.John

Issue 31 May 2013

The Mountain Rescue Committee of Scotland


All enquiries regarding letters, photographs and features for publication should be submitted to the Editorial staff Design Editor Any queries regarding artwork, design and layout etc should be forwarded to the Editor Dave Cawthorn, Tel:- 01750 32342 Mobile:- 07702 162913 email :- ALL ENQUIRIES REGARDING ADVERTISING SALES SHOULD BE DIRECTED TO Lesley Bryce Advertising Coordinator Articles published in CASBAG do not necessary reflect the views of the Editor or the Mountain Rescue Committee of Scotland. We are very grateful to all contributors and Advertisers. It is not always possible to include submitted features in the current issue. Those omitted are always kept for future use. MRCofS Executive Committee CHAIRMAN Jonathon Hart


TREASURER Moira Weatherstone




Co-opted Members LEGAL ADVISOR Roddy Cormack RADIO / COMMS James Coles UKSAROPS (CWG) James Coles j MLTS Graham McDonald MRC Alfie Ingram MC of S Alfie Ingram SMSF Vacant MAGAZINE EDITOR Dave Cawthorn Front Cover: Conference Hypothermia Workshop. Photo Ken Keith. The Mountain Rescue Committee of Scotland (MRCofS) is a Registered Scottish Charity – Number SC015257


TG14 The Gathering Dear Colleagues,

Scottish Mountain Rescue have been quietly working away on the details of the conference for 2014. We will have a complete project plan and full details of the event preparations available for you , and for distri bution to your organisations members/colleagues , for the end of August 2013. This note is an update for you on our current preparations and is also a request for you to start the process of identifying and requesting interested parties to come up with ideas and suggestions for subject delivery within the various tracks or themes that we will have running throughout the weekend event. It is important that we develop our subject and workshop delivery jointly , with IMRA , Cave Rescue and MRE and W , and are keen that you have opportunities for influencing the topics to be discussed within the subject areas listed below. We will be providing you with the names and contact details of the Track Leads over the next couple of weeks so that you have single points of contact for each subject area. Please distribute the date and location of the event to all your membership, as well as the event title and overall theme for the weekend. The ‘TG14’ Team will be providing more regular updates and full details of the event as we move into the Autumn of 2013. The event in 2014 will be titled - Mountain Rescue - 2014 - ‘The Gathering’ We will be producing a new Logo and will have a website and facebook presence where team members may book directly onto the event, choose their accommodation and book places on workshops. However this service will not be available until later this year. We are planning on having 240 participants (plus 60 supporting/delivery staff) and may flex up to 300 participants depending upon available budgets and interest in the event demonstrated by early bookings. Event Summary to date Dates: Location: Accommodation: Overall Conference Theme: Conference Style:

12-14th September 2014 Aviemore, Scotland Aviemore Highland Resort ‘Sharing best practise’ There will be considerable emphasis on workshops being delivered in the Northern Corries and for active outdoor participation from those attending the conference

Conference Track Themes : Human Factors – To include team management and team leadership, situational awareness, team training and team development subjects, future strategic updates for and by MR organisations Search – To include SARDA updates, dog workshops, search management and sarloc updates and helicopters Medical – To include hypothermia, casualty care, avalanche related medical updates, latest medical best practices for the mountain environment Water Rescue- To include bank side search, all water related topics Technical Land Rescue – To include rigging, avalanche training, safe movement through the mountains, navigation, fitness and health, mountain bike, 4x4 We will also be producing the contact details for all the conference planning team and the various leads on different conference sub groups, and will keep our colleagues in Mountain and Cave Rescue fully sighted on the conference as it starts to take shape.

Cheers Jonathan Jonathan Hart Chair - MRCofS

The Magazine of




So please; 1. Let your members know the dates , overall theme and the location of the conference 2. Start your process of thinking what subjects you may like to be discussed or involved as a workshop 3. Keep an eye on your emails as we start to develop our detailed programming of the event

The Mountain Rescue Committee of Scotland



The future of Search a


Bristow Helicopters Ltd has been awarded the contract to deliver the UK Search and Rescue (SAR) helicopter service by the Department for Transport. The company will take over the running of the service from April 2015 and operate until 2026. Scottish Mountain Rescue Magazine takes a closer look at who Bristow Helicopters are and what the contract will mean for mountain rescue teams across Scotland.

A strong British heritage Bristow Helicopters was founded in the UK in 1953 by Alan Bristow OBE and their experience in delivering helicopter Search and Rescue services here is extensive. The company began providing SAR in the UK in 1971. The company then went on to deliver SAR services for HM Coastguard from four bases, Stornoway, Sumburgh, Lee-on-Solent and Portland, until 2007. In the UK alone Bristow Helicopters has flown more than 44,000 SAR operational hours and conducted over 15,000 SAR missions, during which more than 7,000 people have been rescued by the company’s crews and helicopters. In that time Bristow Helicopters’ crews have

and Rescue in the UK

Most recently, Bristow Helicopters has been gearing up to operate the Gap SAR contract providing SAR helicopter services from bases in Stornoway and Sumburgh. These teams are currently training from Inverness Airport and are due to move up to the SAR bases later this month. Managing Director of Bristow Helicopters, Mike Imlach, commented: “For us, taking over the operation of the Gap SAR and UK SAR contracts is a return to our British heritage. Search and Rescue has been a key area of our business for many years and we’re honoured to be providing these services in the UK once again.”


won numerous awards including six Chief Coastguard’s Commendations awarded for bravery and exceptionally meritorious service, two prestigious Coastguard Rescue Shields and three Edward Maisie Lewis Awards.


A fast, efficient response From 2016 the new SAR service will be delivered from 10 bases across the UK including four in Scotland. New facilities will be established at Inverness, Manston, Prestwick, Caernarfon, Humberside, Newquay and St Athan while existing facilities at Lee-on-Solent and Sumburgh will continue to be used and the base at Stornoway will be refurbished. These locations have been strategically selected due to their proximity to areas of high SAR incident rates and will enable the teams to respond to incidents in 85% of high and very high-risk areas within 30 minutes rather than the 70% reachable in this timeframe by the existing service. Bristow Helicopters’ crews will provide a 24 hour a day, 365 days a year service with the ability to launch within 15 minutes in day time and 45 minutes at night time. This will enable SAR teams to get to an incident on average faster than ever before.

Life-saving technology Perhaps most significantly, Bristow Helicopters will be introducing a state of the art Search and Rescue fleet of Sikorsky S-92s and AgustaWestland AW189s. The new helicopters will feature a raft of technology, some of which will be new to commercial Search and Rescue aircraft, and will enable Bristow Helicopters to provide unprecedented SAR capabilities. Two fully operational helicopters will be stationed at each base with S-92s from Sumburgh and Stornoway and AW189s operating from Inverness and Prestwick. Bristow Helicopters has gone to great lengths to obtain the necessary International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) export licence in order to invest in the best possible night vision goggle (NVG) technology available to the civil market. The Generation 3 NVG image intensifier tubes are fully integrated into the cockpit and cabin.


“In putting together our Search and Rescue service we have been able to start with a clean sheet and select the best suited helicopters for the geographical areas we will be servicing,” Imlach said. “As mountain rescue teams will be all too aware night vision capabilities can be useful for night time incidents, particularly in Scotland where winter days are short and operations often continue into the hours of darkness. Our searches will be effective due to forward-looking infrared (FLIR), thermal imaging camera technology and high illumination lighting. The new



aircraft will also benefit from long range fuel tanks to allow us to operate across the vast distances we will be servicing.” Communicating with mountain rescue teams and others on the ground will be vastly improved thanks to an advanced external public address system. Both helicopters types will also be fitted with Trulink® wireless capabilities for communications between the aircraft and crew. On board, a medical intercom will also allow the cabin and cockpit to be split into isolated zones so that medical teams can work on a patient without distracting the flight crew. Improved cabin lighting including emergency white light will enable advanced medical procedures to be carried out, while the addition of 230 volt ac power outlets will support the sophisticated medical equipment. The cockpit and cabin layout have been ergonomically designed to make Search and Rescue operations easier and safer. Newly placed and additional attachment points from which the crew will hang during winching operations will make the aircraft more balanced and make entry and exit from the cabin easier. Once in the aircraft, teams in the cabin will be able to view directional data, mapping and FLIR imaging on 20” high definition monitors positioned behind the co-pilot’s seat. Bristow Helicopters has also designed bespoke storage in the cabins to meet the specific requirements of the SAR crews.

The face behind the service Bristow Helicopters’ Search and Rescue workforce is expected to comprise around 350 dedicated pilots, crew and engineers from both the current military Search and Rescue force and Bristow’s own experienced team. A transition agreement between the company and the Ministry of Defence will give military personnel the opportunity to transfer to the new service and safeguard continuity of service. “Experienced military personnel who have been conducting Search and Rescue operations across the UK for many years will be a great asset to our teams, ensuring that local knowledge is not lost, Imlach added. “Our pilots and crews work closely with mountain rescue teams, Coastguard Rescue Teams and other emergency services every day in countries where we currently deliver SAR helicopter services. We have great respect for the fantastic work done by these teams and are keen to include them in our training exercises as we move towards 2015 to ensure that together we can be fully prepared to deliver this vital service to the UK public.”










Scotland - Reflections on a Mountain Rescue Colin Henderson I thought a lot before writing this. Not because it’s embarrassing to get rescued (it is) but because we put folk’s lives at risk to look for us and caused others to worry because we hadn’t come home. Both of which are inexcusable. If we have any defence, I think we did a lot right; we left details of where we were going, we stopped when it was too dangerous and we had plenty clothes and shelter to last a winter’s night. But we didn’t get down safely as planned and as we couldn’t contact anyone due to the mobile phone masts being damaged, others came out to get us. Which is regrettable and not something I want to repeat. Writing down what happened helps me learn from it but also gives me the opportunity to thank publicly the people that helped us. Hopefully the additional observations on the kit we had offers some real-life experience on the realities of modern day ‘emergency’ gear.

continue without ropes. The preference for both of us was to go back up and try again. But the complex ground we had just descended would be dangerous to reverse in the dark. Realising this, and not being comfortable on the steep slope, we spent the last few minutes of daylight scrambling across and down to a small ledge that was the only flat bit of ground in sight. Triangle in shape, it measured 3m across, pitched out into the abyss and was destined to be our home until daylight, 15 hours away, when we could take stock of our situation and see how best to continue. 5.00pm to 12.00am Once settled, we tried to text home to say we were safe but the storms that hit Scotland the previous Thursday had put out the local mobile phone masts and there was no signal. There was nothing to do but sit and wait, still with the idea of

In December 2011, a friend and I descended a steep, snow-covered slope on a 937m (3074ft) Scottish hill (a ‘Munro’). After climbing down through a number of steep crags, we hit a dead-end as night fell. Realising it was too dangerous to continue or reverse our steps in the dark, we spent the winter’s night perched on a small snow ledge before being unceremoniously plucked from the mountain 12 hours later by a Royal Air Force Sea King search and rescue helicopter, call-sign ‘Rescue 137’. 6.15am It was snowing when I left my house in Edinburgh before dawn and walked to the main road to meet Andy. Out of Edinburgh, our first stop for the day was the Green Welly cafe at Tyndrum. It’s a cafe that proves the premise ‘location, location, location’ and is an ideal stopping point for those wanting to visit one of the more famous Scottish glens, Glencoe. We were headed south of Glencoe, and west of Tyndrum, to a Munro called Beinn Sgulaird. Only just above the Munro qualifying height of 918m (3,000ft), Beinn Sgulaird sits high above Loch Creran, just inland of the west coast of Scotland. I’ve walked up the mountain before, in summer, and was happy to do it again with Andy and bag it in another season.


10.45am to 5.00pm Beinn Sgulaird from the farm at Druimavuic is an easy walk, even in the snow, and 2pm saw us at the south-west top and the start of the summit ridge. The weather had closed in and a strong wind whipped clouds past us as we picked our way along the broad, 1km-long rocky ridge. The wind was cold enough to bite the skin and it jostled us about as we walked over the snow-covered rock and ice on a compass bearing to reach the summit.


From Beinn Sgulaird’s north top, there is a known route north-west into Glen Ure. The ground was steep and convex but easy at first and nothing out of the ordinary. When we came upon some crags we would traverse the top of them until we found a break and then we would either crampon down sideways or face in and kick steps if it was steeper. Nine times out of ten, I think we’d have found a way down. But there was a lot of crags and a lot of traversing and this took time. Without us realising it, the light had faded dramatically and it was almost dark when we came to the top of a crag we couldn’t see down. Facing in, we traversed the wet snow above it left and right, then left and right again, then right one final time to confirm what we both realised; it was too steep and dangerous to

reversing what we had done in the morning and walking back to the car. The first few hours weren’t too bad. Andy had a foil survival bag, marketed as having the same warmth as a 2-season sleeping bag. I had a bothy tent. We were both sitting on our rucksacks to insulate us from the snow. I was wearing a thick synthetic duvet jacket and Andy had a thin insulated top on over his fleece. It wasn’t too cold, around freezing, but later the wind and rain picked up and whipped us remorselessly, often ripping my shelter out from underneath me and billowing it into the sky. It was difficult to keep hold of and it annoyed me. Andy too. He suffered stoically throughout, with only his nose and lips visible through the mouth of his survival bag. 12.00am to 2.30am As Andy predicted, his wife phoned the police when he didn’t return home on time. My wife had gone to bed early so was woken at 02.30am by

two policeman knocking on the door. After they confirmed I wasn’t there they asked for a photograph, which I’m reliably told would have been used for body identification purposes if the need had arisen. Not being stupid (unlike her husband, you might say), this upset her and she phoned both her and my parents, who came down to the house. When Lothian & Borders Police established we were overdue, they called their counterparts in Oban. Two policewomen from Oban Police station checked the road at the base of the hill and found our car still there. They notified Oban Mountain Rescue, who mobilised a team and headed out to search for us. Two runners were sent up our ascent route and the rest of the team headed into Glen Ure where they thought we may have descended. 2.30am to 5.00am Stiff and cold, nine and half hours after we first sat down, I glanced out the ‘window’ of my shelter and saw blue lights in the glen below. “Andy, I think that’s mountain rescue. This is going to be embarrassing”. We flashed the standard SOS signal of six flashes and received three in return. Now we knew they knew where we were, all we could do was sit and wait and guess how they were going to reach us. From what I gather, the Oban Mountain Rescue team leader sent a team with ropes up the head of Glen Ure, presumably with the objective of them reaching the summit and climbing down to us from the top. He had also called the Royal Air Force base at Lossiemouth and at 04.30am they reached us first. The ‘clatter-clatter-clatter’ of an Royal Air Force Sea King helicopter reverberated around us as it thundered past on its way up the glen. It flew back towards us, lit us up with a powerful torch beam and slowly edged into the mountainside. Hovering above us, light’s flashing and beeping, the pilot held his position in the clouds as a winch operator lowered a colleague down towards us on a wire cable. Landing on our ledge, he shouted “Are you okay?!”, pointing at me. I replied “Yes”. He repeated the question to Andy who gave the same response. “Right, I’m taking you first. I’ll be back for you. Stay there!” With that, he placed a harness under my shoulders and knees and his colleague winched us into the night air and pulled us into the warm belly of the helicopter. Quickly detaching me, the winchman headed out again into the night sky and within minutes Andy followed me into the helicopter. We both sat in a seat facing the door, buckled in, as the winchman and winch operator closed the door and the pilot (I believe there are two pilots) banked the helicopter away from the mountain.

Thanks to…

• Oban Police - for their concern on-site and the support they gave Andy’s and my family through the night. • Oban Mountain Rescue - for coming out to get us, especially after not having much sleep as it was their Christmas night out the night before. • RAF Lossiemouth  202 Squadron  - for obvious reasons and their professionalism and skill in flying in the mountains in poor weather. • Glen Ure farm - who I’m told helped the police and MRT through

the night. • Oban hospital - for checking us out and giving us cups of hot coffee. • Lothian & Borders police - for alerting my wife and sending back the picture she gave them.

Official report Oban Mountain Rescue posted a call out report on their website - http:// Lessons we learnt

• Research fully any likely descent route. There’s enough information on the internet about the steepness of the crags and the NW slope to have warded us off it in winter. • Triple-check the map before descending. There’s clearly not a lot of contour lines on the slope which should have raised flags to us that it was overly steep. • A route guide left with a partner or friend could be a life saver – Andy’s wife was able to tell the police what hill we were on and where we expected to descend. Leaving this information with my wife too would have been better. • Mobile phones are indispensable. Not primarily for calling a rescue but for letting folk know you’re fine. If we could have communicated with people there may have been different outcome. • Take a spare pair of socks (Beginner’s mistake. I thought I had them). • Consider taking a stove in winter. (A Jetboil, for example, would make a huge difference and we could have filled it up with the surrounding snow). • Above all, don’t get caught out needlessly in the hills. It wastes a lot of resources and if the weather was less kind it could have been an awful lot worse.

Kit observations

• Bothy bag (Terra Nova) – fantastic but difficult to hold onto in the wind. We would have both got into this but it would have meant us leaning back into the void and neither of us fancied this. • Survival bag  (Blizzard Survival) – Andy used a Blizzard Bag and found it to be probably as warm as they say it is (a 2-season sleeping bag). However, he said it was too big around the chest and the excess space inside cost him warmth. • Survival bag (Adventure Medical Kits) – Andy kindly gave me this halfway through the evening. I used it first wrapped around my legs and then got into it later. The fabric seems very strong and I noticed a difference in heat loss. I wouldn’t have wanted to use it on its own. • Insulated jackets - Both of us had synthetic insulated jackets (me a Mountain Equipment Citadel, Andy a much lighter Rab Generator smock). Down would have been warmer but I don’t believe it would have lasted the first hour. The Citadel has 200g of Primaloft insulation and for warmth is superb. My top half was never cold. • Waterproof socks  - I find these great for winter walking but when we were stopped, the sweat stayed inside them and my feet got cold. Andy loaned me a spare pair of wool socks and I would have changed into these if my feet got any colder. • Pile/pertex mitts - probably great in dry weather but they got soaking midway through the night. They ended up under my legs to help keep them off the ground. Waterproof mitts on the other hand were excellent. • Neck gaiter – being able to trap warm air round your face is quite pleasant, especially when it is your only source of heat.


5.00am to 8.00am The pilot flew the helicopter away from the crags, circled around and landed at Glen Ure farm. The police met us there and ushered us into a heated van, occupied by the Oban Mountain Rescue team leader. He checked we were okay and one of the policewoman pressed a phone into our hands so we could speak to our wives. Afterwards, we talked them (mountain rescue and the police) through what had happened and how we ended up in our predicament. To their credit, they didn’t appear critical. When all the Mountain Rescue team were safely off the hill, the police wanted us to get our body temperature checked. They drove us into Oban and took us to hospital where we checked out okay. Afterwards, two other policemen gave us a lift back to our car. When they left us, we were on our own again, but this time in a much more comfortable situation, fully appreciative of the fact it was with thanks to a lot of people.





On Friday the 22th of March 2013 the Arran mountain rescue team were tasked by Strathclyde police at approximately 3.30pm to attend to a missing person on the West coast of Arran. Within a short matter of time power lines had gone down – North-South and West of the island had become seriously treacherous and means of getting anywhere impossible for most. With high winds and drifting snow the incident turned more serious as the day progressed and the team were then tasked to rescue persons trapped within their cars at the north end of the island. The west side of the island was cut off completely and the following day a number of team members were airlifted by HMS Gannet with medical and emergency food supplies. From that Friday until the following Wednesday the team were tasked along with Strath Pol MRT to visit isolated communities to ensure their well-being and deliver food and fuel supplies. The team assisted every day throughout the crisis – from initially rescuing people stranded in their vehicles to delivering essential supplieshelping farmers locate their livestock and assisting NHS staff. Arran mountain rescue team leader Alan McNicol has complimented the emergency services working together through a very difficult time for the island.


Arran MRT In the Thick Of It!

Report from callout commencing 22nd of March


A Small Revolution: A Leadership Course In April Mountain Rescue Ireland’s emergency services leadership course took place for the fifth time. Once again a very experienced group of participants, from the Coast Guard, Order of Malta Ambulance Corps, Civil Defence, Mountain Rescue and An Garda Siochana attended and found the course rewarding. Some of their comments:

models and further emphasised the role of the fundamental agreement between a volunteer and their unit. All of these were well appreciated. The comments included: ‘Methods to understand and deal with personnel very useful’ ‘Although role play was at first daunting, it was a great teaching experience which incorporated a real sense of involvement, some of the questions and scenarios very relevant’ ‘The Rescuer-Victim-Persecutor triangle makes a lot of sense’, ‘The Parent-Adult-Child and translating the theory into real life examples through role play very effective, never did this before’, ‘Leadership styles and session on values excellent’, ‘The Task Process Relationship division all excellent makes you think’ All of this positive feedback, together with the results of the survey which we did late last year where 60% of responding participants

‘Great material and personal knowledge…’, ‘Very well communicated, well paced at right level and informative’, ‘Very worthwhile, very thought generating on a personal level’, ‘Excellent course, well balanced… very thought provoking’.


The expectations of the participants, brought out in our first discussions, were very interesting. Two main themes were inter-agency working, and different styles of leadership. There are very few places where leaders of several emergency services can discuss these important topics together. We are proud and happy that we are clearly achieving our aim, as a course team, to provide such a space in Ireland and now abroad.


Our guest speaker, Colin Murray of Howth Coast Guard unit spoke with honesty and candour of the task of leading a volunteer unit and of the leader’s need to show commitment to their team, to put all into the advancement of their team. He saw leadership in articulating high standards and norms such as the need to make exercises realistic so that accidents are like exercises. It was striking how many times he used the phrase ‘the job’, showing a professional commitment to it and its ethos, while still being a volunteer. His clarity and task orientation were a perfect starting point for the course’s exploration of the balance between task, process and relationships. Evaluation and self-knowledge are two of the themes running through the course and this year’s course benefited from the course team applying them to ourselves. We looked at the course syllabus critically and dropped one module, but kept core modules such as leadership values and team culture as well as our group discussions, trademark scenarios and practical psychology from Transactional Analysis. We made clearer our use of the Leadership Triangle and heightened the focus on Task, added a focus on interunit Relationships and demonstrated the process of group coaching. We added more demonstrations of the Drama Triangle and other

noted that they had made changes to their leadership style/methods since the course, have confirmed for us that we have a valuable and valid concept and product. We are using a life/business coaching ethos as a foundation for a course incorporating short formal teaching, lots of group discussions and some mild acting in scenarios based on the concepts. Our aims include to ‘provide senior emergency service and community leaders with appropriate leadership knowledge, skills and self-awareness’. As mentioned above we also want to provide a space for leaders and future leaders to have discussions. Fundamentally however this course is about change, about showing leaders how they might change, about us showing how relationships between services might change, by bringing people together in a neutral space and presenting them with information and powerful questions. In a small but vital sense the course is revolutionary. It not only challenges the usual evaluative method of training but consciously brings people together outside the vertical silos of our state and volunteer apparatus. It challenges them to consider what kind of leaders they want to be in the company of others from different services but with the same questions. Can we be better leaders and create better organisations? Does bringing a better service to the casualty require thinking outside the established norms? This sense of deeper questioning surfaced in the group coaching

session this year where issues concerned with better inter-agency working, governance and the structures of voluntary bodies as well as the need for more inter-agency forums were discussed, often passionately. There was a real sense of a need to do better for the casualty and for the services. We have to be realistic however and the course team realises the need to point out that the course is, at present, only a weekend, once a year and that participants have to go back and work with their existing structures in a realistic and positive way. As always the participants were generous with their feedback. The course team’s lessons learn meeting was particularly rich this year and we will work to further improve the course. We will provide more time to groups to feed back at the end of their sessions especially with regard to their discussions regarding their chosen Hero and his or her’s attributes, values etc. This seems to have struck a real chord for this year’s attendees and they clearly wanted more time to discuss it. The time available in a weekend is limited however and we may have to extend it to a third day. We have also committed to try to further improve our material and publicity as well as setting out a course team CPD list of training topics for ourselves. The course team would like to thank the participants, their agencies, our own teams and Mountain Rescue Ireland, the national body. We also want to gratefully acknowledge the South Eastern Regional Working Group of the Major Emergency Management process for its financial support towards the holding of the course in Horse and Jockey, Co. Tipperary. Response by Participant ‘A month after the course, and I have found myself reflecting on the learning and value of the Leadership for Voluntary Emergency

Services course run by Mountain Rescue Ireland. It struck me that while there was plenty of relevant and interesting theory involved, and some very practical exercises, that the real value was in the actions and behaviours we carried away with us. The Leadership spotlight was shone on us and this enabled us to look inside ourselves and examine how our Leadership skills and our behaviour can influence situations and people around us. Equally it gave an insight into how we are often impacted by what and who is around us. Leadership is essentially about people, understanding people, understanding their behaviour and choosing our own behaviour accordingly to motivate and lead with a mutually beneficial outcome. Leadership requirements vary from person to person and situation to situation and therefore so does Leadership. Where better to start this process of examining leadership than with yourself, and that is what the Leadership for Voluntary emergency Services programme does. It is a modern look at leadership, exploring the key elements of Leadership in the voluntary sector in a way that brings the learning to life in a fu and meaningful way, In addition to all that, it is a positive opportunity for developing friends in fellow organisations, fostering a sense of shared experiences and challenges, and is overall a very worthwhile personal development experience . It is certainly an learning experience that makes an impact long after the final session has ended. Thank you Mountain Rescue Ireland for being real leaders and sharing your professionalism.

Asst Comdr Brian Coote Asst National Director Training & Development Order of Malta Ambulance Corps

LYON EQUIPMENT LTD PRESS RELEASE PETZL ELIA HELMET – Now available with MREW Logo In response to requests from female team members the PETZL ELIA helmet is now available to mountain rescue teams in the familiar white and reflective orange colour way pioneered on the PETZL VERTEX and ALVEO helmets.

The ELIA’s ABS shell and polystyrene liner construction weighs only 285g and covers a headband size range of 52 – 58cm. For full details on the PETZL ELIA with mountain rescue marking please contact Lyon Equipment.


The ELIA is an EN 12492 UIAA mountaineering helmet specifically shaped and sized for the female head. Unique to the ELIA is its patented ‘horseshoe’ OMEGA rear cradle which allows the helmet to be fitted and adjusted easily even if the user has long hair.


Scottish Mountain Rescue Glenmore, Aviemore, Inverness-shire PH22 1QU

‘Volunteering to save lives’


Jim Fraser (Kintail MRT)

Contracts History

Previous private Helicopter Contract Summary • 1971 to 1974, 1983 to 2007: Bristow held DfT contracts at up to 4 bases. • 2007 to 2012, extended 2013: CHC held a DfT contract at 4 bases. • 2013 to 2017, Lee-on-Solent & Portland (Gap, south): CHC awarded DfT contract 2012. • 2013 to 2017, Sumburgh & Stornoway (Gap, north): Bristow awarded DfT contract 2012. • 2015 to 2026, all 10 UK bases (Main, Lot 3): Bristow awarded DfT contract March 2013. The aircraft that arrived a few weeks ago are for service of the Gap contract at Sumburgh and Stornoway from 2013 to 2017. The contract that was in the news at the end of March is the Main contract that replaces all current government-funded UK SAR helicopter provision Advantages of the new airframes High aircraft availability: 98+%

Mission management mapping systems

Faster aircraft: shorter transit times

Lower door sill: step in, not climb in

Enhanced lift capability

Dual winch

Major step up in flying safety

Big door each side, on half the fleet (189 only)

Full night vision fit in every aircraft

Longer endurance

Better search equipment


Better comms

Data link for medical info (under development)

Disadvantages of the new airframes


Increased downwash (both same rotor loading)


BASES – SCOTLAND Sumburgh This base will change to Bristow under the Gap contract in 1st June 2013 and continue under that contract until it changes to the Main contract on 1st April 2017. Two of the newly delivered S-92 with the enhanced role equipment fit, including NVG, will be based here during both contract periods. This base is rarely involved in land or mountain tasks but a possible provider for coastal Caithness tasks.

Low cabin height, on half the fleet (189 only)

Stornoway This base will change to Bristow under the Gap contract in 1st July 2013 and continue under that contract until it changes to the Main contract on 1st July 2017. Two of the newly delivered S-92 with the enhanced role equipment fit, including NVG, will be based here during both contract periods. This base will also house a training facility. This training facility is located for access to appropriate maritime and mountain areas while taking advantage of good aeronautical conditions and relatively quiet airspace. An additional crewed training aircraft will be based there.

There will continue to be an enhanced range/endurance requirement only at this base for the purpose of long Atlantic maritime SAR jobs. This may mean that the aircraft turns up for mountain tasks with a large fuel load that reduces its lift ability. This base is routinely involved in mountain tasks in the NW Highlands. Inverness A new base will be built at Inverness Airport, Dalcross. A 2500m2 hanger will house the SAR helicopter base and a training facility. This training facility is located for access to appropriate maritime and mountain areas while taking advantage of good communications and relatively quiet airspace. Three Agusta Westland AW189 (main , back-up and training) will operate from there from 1st April 2015. This base is expected to be the principal provider for northern teams. Estimated flying time (not including 15/45 min standby): Cairngorm 17 min, Five Sisters of Kintail 23 min, Ben Nevis or Ben Hope 27 min, Altnafeadh 29 min. Prestwick A new base is expected to be built near to the existing RN facility at Prestwick Airport. Two Agusta Westland AW189 will operate from here from 1st January 2016. This base is expected to be the principal provider for southern teams. Estimated flying time (not including 15/45 min standby): Altnafeadh or Schiehallion or Meikle Says Law 33 min.

BASES, CROSS-BORDER Caernarfon This base will take over from Valley on 1st July 2015. Two S-92 will be based there.

AIRCRAFT Sikorsky S-92 Almost an old friend to teams in the north-west already but its reputation has been unnecessarily spoilt by the DfT technical requirements for the 2007 contract being quite lame and not including adequate communications equipment or a low light requirement. Very powerful, with rated power approaching 5000 shaft

Bristow have taken the outstanding step of buying aircraft for the Gap contract that meet the enhanced requirements for the Main contract. This means that these enhanced requirements are in service at Sumburgh and Stornoway from the summer of 2013. These aircraft will be fitted with a EuroNav 7 mission management mapping system. It is expected that the rearcrew will communicate your navigational information to the pilots using this system. Agusta Westland AW189 Very new and still going through the certification process which is due for completion in 2014. The first SAR prototype PT6 is expected to be finished at Yeovilton in May or June 2013. It has a family resemblance to the AW139, used at Portland and Lee since 2007, but is significantly bigger and more powerful. It uses the same engines as the S-92 but at a lower rating of around 4000 shp: lots of power for an eight tonne helicopter. The rotorhead is a modern design that enables good control power and good speed. Control power is what enables the aircraft to manoeuvre and, as an example of this, the aircraft exceeds the DfT specification for side and tail winds by an impressive margin. When the aircraft’s operational limits have been confirmed, it is expected to cruise faster than the S-92: at a speed between 145 and 165 knots. The accommodation in this aircraft borders on that of the larger Lot 1 specification (fulfilled by the S-92). The cabin is similar in size to that of the well-known Blackhawk/ Jayhawk, that is in SAR service with the US Coast Guard, but the AW189 cabin is slightly taller. It may be possible that it will carry as many as 8 lightly-equipped mountain rescue personnel along with a full fuel load. Permanent seating for 6 is expected and it is not yet known if the Bristow version will have an additional 2 temporary door-mounted seats. The pilots will be separated from the rear cabin by a bulkhead. These aircraft will be fitted with a SELEX mission management mapping system. It is expected that the rearcrew will communicate your navigational information to the pilots using this system.


Humberside This base will take over from Leconfield on 1st April 2015. Two S-92 will be based there.

horsepower. Perhaps a bit hefty. Long tall cabin. It cruises at 145 knots so it is able to respond noticeably faster than its predecessors.


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Mountain Rescue Work Praised Oban MRT 02/04/2013

“Rescue teams provide an outstanding service to our communities in Scotland’s mountains, hills and rural areas. That’s why I’m delighted to award an additional £51,000 to the Scottish Mountain Rescue Committee for specialist stretchers. “The type of stretcher used by mountain rescue teams is highly specialised and greatly prized by the teams as a piece of kit that does everything they need. The funding will ensure that no mountain rescue team will run out of them in the short term. The stretchers have been made over many years by a specialist Scottish manufacturer based in Glencoe and the teams have come to rely heavily on the product. I’m sure the Scottish Mountain Rescue Committee will welcome this extra investment, which will allow them to keep providing a first-class service. “Unfortunately since the turn of the year avalanches have claimed a number of lives in the Highlands. I want to take this opportunity to remind anyone considering walking, climbing or taking part in any other activities in the mountains to take extra care.” The stretchers are unique to Scotland and are designed and built by in Glencoe by Hamish McInness, a well-known member of the mountaineering community. Jonathan Hart, Chair of the Mountain Rescue Committee of Scotland, said:

Scottish Government Minister Roseanna Cunningham visited Oban MRT post on Tuesday to look at the work of mountain rescue teams as we move in to a new era of working with a single Scottish Police force The sterling work done by Scotland’s mountain rescue teams was praised by Minister for Community Safety Roseanna Cunningham on a visit to their Oban base. As the current changeable weather continues, Ms Cunningham also reminded anyone venturing out into Scotland’s mountains to take extra care and heed safety advice. The Minister also announced extra funding of £51,000 for ‘specialist stretchers’ in 2012-13, in addition to the £3m the Scottish Government has already provided to Scottish mountain rescue teams. The Scottish Government is the only government in the UK that provides annual grant funding to support the work of volunteer mountain rescue teams.

“Recent tragic events on the mountains have demonstrated clearly that Mountain Rescue Team volunteers provide a vital public service, saving many lives every year.

“Scottish Mountain Rescue Teams are very grateful for the Scottish Government’s financial support, announced today, which together with the additional funding for specialist stretchers, will considerably enhance our voluntary life-saving mountain rescue service provided to those who may be in need of its assistance. “Scottish Mountain Rescue Teams are proud to provide a worldclass voluntary search and rescue service 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. I am deeply grateful to all of the teams and other partner responders who continue to provide a vital public service for Scotland’s local communities.”


Ms Cunningham said:


Search Management Managing the Initial Response to a SAR Incident D ave Perkins and Pete Rober ts are both active members of Nor thumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team and have been for some 40 years each. Pete is their current Team Leader. In 1997 they formed a registered charit y called The Centre for Search Research ( TCSR) – w w w. – they have presented their courses throughout the UK and Ireland and have presented at conferences in the UK , US and Canada. They co - author the UK Missing Person Study with Ged Feeney and are currently updating their Field Skills course and adding a new Search Group Leader course to their list of courses offered. Their courses are specifically designed to meet the needs of UK practitioners.


This course will be delivered again in the Nor th of England in November 2013. TCSR have been presenting this course throughout the UK since 2000, the date of the first Initial Response course, but only recently (2012) received recognition from MREW. The course was developed through a collaboration of SAR prac titioners in the UK and USA.


In 1998 this group reviewed search management courses throughout the UK , US and Canada and concluded that a new specific course should be developed, aimed at whoever (Police and/or MR) received the First Notice and that it should be logical, hang together as a discrete process and be simple and straightfor ward to implement. This collaboration identified The Initial Response Phase of an operation as being impor tant in building a foundation for other search management concepts – ever y incident has an Initial Response,

and this adds to its impor tance. This phase is tightly time constrained and that also impac ts on the process. The first course was taught in the UK in 2000 and it has been updated, revised and reviewed since then. As a course it is unique in addressing The I nitial Response Phase. Since identifying this concept other providers have incorporated the phase into existing courses and some have even invented a new terminology, but TCSR’s course is different to other search management courses as it deals exclusively with the I nitial Response Phase and, most recently, The I mmediate Response to a SAR incident. Background • Statistics from past incidents show that in the UK around 95% of searches for missing persons are concluded within the first 12 hours – 80% in 5 hours. • Through analysis of over 5000 MR incidents we found that on average an incident lasted just over 4 hours and 50% lasted only 2.5 hours. • This time period is referred to as the Initial Response Phase, and how it is managed can have an impor tant bearing on the outcome of the entire incident. • Ever y incident has an I nitial Response phase • Search management training had become overly complex and not appropriate for managing this phase of an incident. • A new, more cohesive and logical approach was needed. The course I t is a prac tical, hands- on course that focuses on the needs of the individuals with the responsibility for managing the I nitial Response phase of a search. I t has been designed to meet the needs of those people who have the responsibility for managing the I nitial Response phase of a search for a missing person but it is relevant to all involved in an incident so that ever yone has a grasp of the ‘big pic ture’ which in turns helps with the overall success of the operation. This includes both volunteer and statutor y bodies. The method that is taught: • focuses on the prac tical rather than theoretical • is based on a set of procedures that are logical and sequential • is suppor ted by documentation that provides an audit trail of decisions made • uses map exercises based on UK incidents • explores the use of the UK M issing Person behaviour

Study in detail The course is based on the Six Step Process, which is a simple yet versatile template for a response to an operational problem. I t is a generic problem solving process that provides a framework to hang search management concepts on, and can be developed and used beyond the Initial Phase. Good management is achieved through clear processes and clearly defined tasks. Par ticipants work individually. The instruc tors provide the necessar y theor y and lead the students through a series of tabletop incidents suppor ted by a manual and documentation designed by the authors. By the end of the course students are able to manage these incidents with the minimum of input from the instruc tors. I t is a 1.5 day course. Since 2000, the course has been fur ther developed to incorporate UK M issing Person statistics, UK based map problems, UK based documentation that is acceptable to the Police and that is used as a standard in Ireland. We feel that it is best delivered regionally with a mix of volunteer and statutor y bodies to reflec t a multi agenc y response to a SAR incident. This also provides an oppor tunity to customise courses

to local needs and to include local map exercises. Experience has shown that this is the most cost effec tive way of delivering this fundamental of SAR to a broad local group rather than restric t it to a small, exclusive group of individuals. I t allows for a broader understanding of search management principles for a larger group of individuals who will be involved in an incident so that ever yone is involved and understand the process. I f a variety of local agencies, who might be involved in a SAR incident, attend then much valuable liaison can be achieved during the course and any local issues dealt with. This local and ‘bespoke’ approach is unique to the courses we offer. Having said that, we intend to provide an annual national course based in Nor thumberland and details of the 2013 course is available on the website. For fur ther information contac t Pete Rober ts peterober ts@brink or for fur ther details on the courses we offer and free publications, go to w w


The 2012 course at Longhirst Hall, Morpeth


Remembering Stuart A gaggle of Mountain Rescue folk gathered at the Kings House Hotel, Glencoe over the weekend of 11/12 May in the form of Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue Team and Search and Rescue Dog Association Scotland (SARDA). The common denominator for this occasion was Stuart Ruffell, ex-Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue Team Leader and SARDA Dog Handler who sadly passed away in November 2008. This was a joint venture as Stuart had been a much loved and well respected member of both organisations. Glencoe was a special place for Stewart and both organisations agreed to raise funds to build a small memorial here. This would take the form of a small meeting place for others to appreciate the splendour of being out of doors with the majesty of the Buachaille Etive Mòr as a back drop.


There was no shortage of volunteers to work on this project and, despite the inclement weather, foundations were dug and building commenced. The idea was to make a circular base of sandstone slabs to accommodate a round table and benches. This will be contained within a wall made from local stone, banked up with earth, and turfed. We all thought Stuart would like the idea. The idea was to build during the day and celebrate Stuart’s life over a few beers and an evening BBQ.


Cement mixers, whacker plates, and pick axes appeared from all directions with a surplus of labour (and foremen!) all eager to play their part. Local stone was quickly fashioned into a circular base. This was both a tribute to Stuart Ruffell and a reflection of the camaraderie that exists in the Mountain Rescue community. Both of Stuart’s sons are members of TVMRT and, along with their mum Irene, helped with the build and manned the BBQ at night. Sarda raised funds at a training weekend as well as holding a gear and book sale. TVMRT raised funds by holding an ‘Evening With Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue Team‘ in the MacFarlane Hall, Peebles, last November. Peebles was Stuart’s home town.




Tom Gilchrist cons iders the options wi th Derek McHugh



Irene gets stuck in!


Weight-loss tip: eliminate every unnecessary gram.

Photo © Kalice

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