Police will mobilise mountain rescue and other services to incidents in the hills. Photo: Stuart Hill/Royal Navy/Crown Copyright

Police will mobilise mountain rescue and other services to incidents in the hills. Photo: Stuart Hill/Royal Navy/Crown Copyright

Outdoor experts are warning walkers and climbers not to ring for an ambulance if they have an emergency on the mountain.

Anyone needing help following an incident on the hills should call 999 and ask for the police, who will call out mountain rescue teams.

Ambulance crews are not able to deal with emergencies away from public roads, a mountain rescuer warned.

The advice came as summer ends and shorter, colder days loom in Scotland and the rest of the UK.

Mark Leyland, team leader of Arrochar Mountain Rescue Team said: “Delays have sometimes been caused when someone has asked for the ambulance service even though they are in the mountains and away from a public road.

“Getting through to the correct service at the first attempt is vital to ensure the correct resources are mobilised, and if the incident is away from a public road, then callers should ask for police and then mountain rescue.

“Ambulance crews do not have the equipment or expertise to respond to incidents away from the public road.

“Time has been lost on some recent mountain incidents when the initial 999 call has gone through to the ambulance service.

“Important information to have available will include your location, the weather on scene and the state of your party, all of which will help speed up your rescue.”

Heather Morning, mountain safety advisor with the Mountaineering Council of Scotland, said: “Anyone heading off-road to enjoy the hills and mountains of Scotland should be aware of this vital information.”

She added that people who go to the hills and mountains should also register their mobile phone with the emergency SMS text service.

“It is not unusual to have limited mobile coverage in the mountains, and if there is insufficient coverage to make a voice call, people who have pre-registered their phone can send an emergency text to 999.”

An emergency text is responded to in the same manner as a voice call. A text will be returned acknowledging the message and continuing updates on the progress of the rescue.

The process to register your phone is free and takes only seconds. Instructions are on the Emergency SMS website.

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