About The Team
We are often asked by members of the public what exactly we do because there aren't many mountains in Swaledale!
The team is now involved in an increasing number of search incidents. Only a small proportion are for the 'traditional' lost or overdue hill walkers. The majority of searches are in support of the police in locating missing vulnerable people such as those with dementia or who are despondent.
SMRT has a wide experience in search management and can call upon support from neighbouring teams when required along with search dogs from SARDA.
The team is often called to assist injured people in areas that are remote or difficult to access; these may be as simple as a miss placed foot resulting in lower leg fractures, high energy impact injuries to mountain bikers or paragliders, or more complex incidents involving multiple casualties such as during an aircraft crash. Calls can come direct from the injured person, via the Yorkshire AmbulanceService, or the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.
Once stabilized the team is able to safely transport casualties to definitive hospital care using a range of stretchers and specialist techniques. These may involve technical rope rescue or the use of helicopters.
Underground Search & Rescue
Our area of operation is littered with numerous natural caves, potholes and former mines. Exploration of these provides an enjoyable pastime for many but can be an extremely hazardous environment. The team has vast experience of the region and in particular the special hazards of mineworkings. Rescues from the underground environment can often be very difficult and protracted.
The team holds an array of specialized underground rescue equipment that can be deployed to an incident site in order to provide medical treatment and then evacuate a casualty.
Swiftwater & Flood Rescue
In 2003, following a number of near and in-water incidents, SMRT decided that specialist training and equipment was required to ensure the safety of searchers, rescuers and casualties near water.
Since then the team has been involved in many more moving water and flood incidents across North Yorkshire, the North East and Cumbria. The specialist Swiftwater Rescue Unit was enhanced in early 2010 to provide more highly trained and equipped members supported by specialist water rescue equipment including boats.
Medical Equipment & Personnel
The team can call upon its medical skills and medical equipment. All team members are trained in basic life support; several hold a Mountain Rescue Casualty Care qualification; and a smaller number are trained in Advanced Casualty Care which means they can perform advanced techniques such as the use of drugs for pain relief and intravenous access where appropriate. In addition, SMRT’s membership includes two local General Practitioners who have experience of providing extended medical care in wilderness environments.
The team currently has five trainee mountain rescue search dogs and handlers. Search dogs can significantly increase the efficiency of a missing person search.
SMRT are, each year, called to a number of animal rescues. The team is always willing to attend such calls to assist local farmers and landowners who provide valuable support to us throughout the year. The majority of these involve the recovery of sheep from either crag ledges or from potholes. The second major category of animal rescues involves dogs, mainly terriers, which often find their way into caves and then cannot get out.