Good communications are vital to every mountain rescue operation – whether between the team incident controller (be that the team leader or delegated personnel) and his or her team members, between the team members on the hill expediting a rescue, or between the team and the emergency services.
Call outs are initiated mobile phone text message with responses sent back via a paging messaging service.
Once at an incident or training exercise, the team use a two way VHF radio system to communicate. The system allows all parties involved to talk to each other and to other resources such as ambulances and helicopters. The ‘Control’ vehicle, is kitted out with comms equipment, maps and GPS tracking facilities, which can be driven close to the scene of the incident and set up as a mobile resource.
Team members on the hill will typically carry a portable unit, usually in their rucksack, with a speaker/microphone facility attached to a shoulder strap.
The VHF frequencies are allocated under the auspices of United Kingdom Search and Rescue (UKSAR). Mountain Rescue England and Wales is represented on the UKSAROPS Comms Group – along with the other key organisations involved in search and rescue – where call signs are considered and approved.