There’s no getting away from the fact that we take part in a dangerous hobby. The participation statement on my BMC membership card reads…
“The BMC recognises that climbing, hill walking and mountaineering are activities with a danger of personal injury or death. Participants in these activities should be aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions and involvement.”
I’ve been in a situation where someone took a nasty fall and we had to call out mountain rescue. Now, when I see a collection box for any of the mountain rescue teams, I ALWAYS put a pound coin in it. I think of it as an investment in the future; an insurance policy I hope I never have to claim on.
As an amateur (unpaid) mountain leader, I don’t have a legal duty of care. Once briefed on the expected conditions, people should be able to look after themselves and speak up if they’re unhappy at any point. However, I think I have a moral obligation to care for party members to the best of my abilities and that includes if someone takes ill or injures themselves.
Time and again, I’d put off enrolling in a Rescue Emergency Care course. That was until a friend needed to renew his certificate in order to go for his Mountain Instructor assessment. Essentially, it’s the equivalent of a First Aid at Work course but focuses on typical incidents that happen in the mountains. The practicals are held outdoors to give an element of realism. It was chucking it down on day 2 of our course so we did the role play in amongst the trees. They offered some protection from the weather but it was still pretty miserable. Outside of a real incident, I don’t think we could have had a more realistic scenario.
The end result is that I feel much more prepared should something unfortunate happen. Fingers crossed I never have to put what I’ve learnt into practice.
Many thanks to Andy from Medicymru for making it so much less unpleasant than I thought it would be. Some of the photos were fairly grusome.