Teams in the area have been called out 37 times since 10 May. Photo: PDMRO

Teams in the area have been called out 37 times since 10 May. Photo: PDMRO

Volunteer rescuers in the Peak District have appealed to those heading to the countryside to plan and prepare for their outings, after the number of callouts more than tripled.

The Peak District Mountain Rescue Organisation, the umbrella group for eight teams in the area, said there had been a 363 per cent increase in incidents since lockdown was eased.

Rescuers have responded to a variety of cases in the period since 10 May, including three climbing accidents, one of which was fatal; walkers with lower leg injuries; injured mountain bikers; benighted walkers; five missing vulnerable-person searches, including three with fatal outcomes; and a callout in response to the discovery of an unexploded Second World War shell.

Since lockdown, most fundraising has had to be curtailed, leaving the teams without their usual sources of income.

A spokesperson for the PDMRO, which comprises mountain rescue teams from Buxton, Derby, Edale, Glossop, Kinder, Oldham, and Woodhead along with Derbyshire Cave Rescue Organisation, said since the lockdown was relaxed its members have been called out 37 times compared to only eight such incidents in the same period in 2019.

“All mountain rescue teams in England and Wales are made up entirely of unpaid volunteers who receive no government funding and rely entirely on the donations of the public,” the spokesperson said.

“Working to industry standards for search and rescue in the UK, during the Covid-19 pandemic the teams are also having to include the use of personal protective equipment to protect against the risk of infection. This added burden means the addition of extra layers of clothing and equipment, making an already difficult job more challenging.

“As the lockdown measures ease further the teams will be able to start re-instating training and business meetings which, along with more callouts, will add to their commitments for the coming months.

“However many fundraising opportunities have already been cancelled and more will still not be able to go ahead in the future.”

The mountain rescue teams have been working with other emergency services including police, fire, ambulance, air ambulance, army and the Peak District national park rangers.

The spokesperson said: “You can help PDMRO and its teams by planning your outings; limiting the risks taken; taking enough provisions including map, compass and torches; wearing the right attire such as footwear and weather-appropriate clothing; not using – or putting out – all open flames, barbecues or discarding used cigarette ends in the countryside; finding your local teams and following them on social media for the latest advice in your area, and of course consider donating to help them continue to provide their services throughout the year.”

The teams added: “If you require mountain rescue in an emergency, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the police, then mountain rescue.”

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