Data collated by the Irish Red Cross has revealed its Glen of Imaal Red Cross Mountain Rescue Team responded to 80 call outs in the Wicklow Mountains last year.
The Glen of Imaal Mountain Rescue Team is based in Trooperstown Wood near Laragh in Co Wicklow. Brendan Beirne, chairperson of the Glen of Imaal Red Cross Mountain Rescue Team said “accidents happen everywhere, and to even the most prepared and experienced people, but when you are in a remote environment, getting the help you need is not so easy and that’s why we’re here, and why we’re called out to help. We work in close proximity to the largest population centre in the country, and that’s why we’re so busy.”
1. 30% of call outs were for searches (8% of call outs were for missing persons and 22% were for lost persons)
2. The remaining 70% of call outs were for rescues
3. 4% of call outs were for fatalities. There were 3 fatalities in 2017, 2 of which were despondents.
4. Hiking was the reason for three quarters of the call outs while 9% (7) of incidents resulted from biking.
5. August was the busiest month for the team in 2017.
6. Glendalough had the highest number of call outs, followed by Lugnaquilla and the Sugarloaf.
7. Injuries to the lower leg accounted for half of all injuries attended to by the team.
8. The days of the week with the most incidents were Saturday (33% of incidents) and Sunday (31% of incidents).
9. 2013 stands out as having the highest number of incidents in recent years (110). This was partially due to snow conditions on mountain roads when there was no snow in Dublin. This drew people to the mountains to see the snow and then they got stuck, and the Glen Team was called to evacuate people due to the risk of hypothermia.
The Glen of Imaal Red Cross Mountain Rescue Team represents just one area of Irish Red Cross volunteer expertise. Irish Red Cross volunteers have a range of skills due to the specialised regular training they receive. They assist the state in emergency response during extreme weather conditions such as the Beast from the East and Storm Emma, during which Irish Red Cross volunteers completed 272 call-outs. The day before any snow fell, the Red Cross was had placed 120 vehicles on standby across the country and on one day alone during this extreme weather, IRC volunteers attended a record-breaking 60 call outs in the southern region. The Irish Red Cross had never before dealt with this volume of calls - not alone in one region - but nationally - in one day.
During Storm Ophelia Irish Red Cross volunteers assisted in 17 incidents, transferring patients to hospital, and from hospital to nursing homes, while volunteers also facilitated transfers for essential hospital staff to work. Irish Red Cross volunteers have also been extremely active during a number of serious floods in the past 12 months, particularly the Donegal Floods in August 2017.
The Irish Red Cross drew from its fleet of 144 vehicles (mainly ambulances) when working during these extreme weather events and this is the same fleet the organisation draws from when providing first-aid cover at numerous events around the country each week. But this fleet is expensive to maintain. Insurance is just one of the costs incurred while ambulances need to be manned by appropriately qualified volunteers - and their training is expensive. After a very busy 12 months Irish Red Cross resources have been depleted and that is why, this summer, the Irish Red Cross is fundraising with our volunteers in mind.
But we are not just fundraising for our volunteers at home. The Irish Red Cross is also fundraising for Red Cross volunteers abroad. For example, volunteers in Gaza are under severe pressure due to the protests and recent violence there. They are supporting medical staff in the extremely under-resourced hospitals while they also transport patients to hospital. The risk of getting injured or even losing their lives doesn’t stop them…but the chronic shortages of drugs, equipment and electricity will.
How to donate
Visit www.redcross.ie/donate to donate at this link today.