UK Mountain Rescues: 2002-2006

A J Mort

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Paper presented at the Wilderness Medical Society's 2008 annual meeting, Snowmass, CO. Wilderness and Environmental Medicine;20(2):p179.

Background.—The UK remote and rural setting is often challenging,
with high winds and freezing temperatures. Every
year, people find themselves in difficulty and require the
unique skills of volunteer UK mountain rescue teams (MRTs).
Some have serious injuries, and even the most benign medical
problems are complicated by distance from care. This is a major
challenge for rescue and health care services. This study is
the first of its kind to combine rescue data from across the UK.
Aim.—To describe the nature of nonfatal casualties assisted
by UK MRTs.
Methods.—Casualty information from 2002 to 2006 was
retrieved from the Mountain Rescue Committees of Scotland
and of England and Wales.
Results.—Summer months (May–August) and the midday
period from 1200 to 1600 hours were the peak times for callouts.
Data on 3152 casualties were analyzed. Males comprised
60.8% with the greatest proportion (17.9%) being aged 50 to
59 years. Mountain incidents accounted for most casualties
(84.6%), of which 75% arose from summer and winter hill
walking. Trauma was reported in 77.2% of casualties, and
10.4% had some form of medical illness. Fracture was the
most commonly reported injury (57%), the lower extremity
being the most commonly injured (53%). Head injury was reported
in 13.1% of trauma cases. Casualties had multiple injuries
10.8% of the time.
Conclusion.—Volunteer mountain rescue teams in the UK deal
with a wide range of casualties, including those with serious and
multiple injuries, in difficult weather conditions and terrain. This
has implications for training and equipping of teams.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009


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