Mountain rescues: causes of accidents, protocol and prevention

The pandemic has triggered the holidays to the mountains, keeping the family bubble closed, and in search of tranquility. In the same way, the number of people practicing mountain sports has increased remarkably. Due to these two factors, mountain rescues have soared with figures much higher than previous years.

What are the causes of accidents in the mountains?

Excursions to the mountains are an excellent method of exercising outdoors. However, it is not a risk-free sport. Unexpected falls, overload, disorientation, fatigue, changes in the weather or avalanches can occur. There are many factors that can lead to more or less serious injuries.

According to the analyzes of the Spanish Civil Guard, the first cause of accidents in the mountains is inexperience or overestimation of our possibilities and the lack of appropriate technical equipment to carry out the activity. Others follow such as lack of physical preparation, poor planning, dehydration or lost walkers; always human fault. Interestingly, only 2% of the time the accident occurs due to an unforeseen change in time. And in that same percentage, the interventions that this rescue body carries out affect experienced mountaineers.

Mountain rescue protocol

Whether the person to be helped on the mountain belongs to our group, or if we are providing help to any other mountaineer, the steps to follow to carry out a mountain rescue are the same and aim to eliminate other possible added risks, moving victims to safety, and providing first aid to reduce subsequent risks.

From a legal point of view, there is no specific law in Spain that regulates mountain rescue and the right to be helped. However, there are countless laws that, while not specific to the case of the mountain, establish the obligation of natural persons, professionals and authorities, to help anyone who is in an emergency situation.

Prevention of accidents in the mountains

Here are some of our tips to experienced and inexperienced mountain visitors, in order to avoid accidents in the mountains:

  • Plan the itinerary.
  • Equip yourself properly.
  • Check the weather forecast and pay attention to the evolution.
  • Choose an activity appropriate to the possibilities of the group.
  • Comply with the scheduled schedules.
  • Let someone know where you are going.

You can consult in more detail the advice provided by the Spanish Civil Guard here.

Rescue Teams

In Spain there is currently a mountain rescue and intervention service at the state level, dependent on the Civil Guard, which commonly is referred to by the acronym of GREIM (Special Rescue Groups for Mountain Interventions).

At the regional level, seven communities have special mountain rescue groups for locations that are difficult to access.

For rescue teams, training and rescue equipment are the main way of preventing risks. With the digital transformation and the improvement in 5G networks, the units are being allocated a specific budget to incorporate technological tools that help to elaborate less dangerous and more effective rescues.

The incorporation of these new technologies, such as our device NGD-One, allow the rescue teams to be located in every part of the rescue process, have the emergency button for real-time assistance, predict and receive relevant data in real-time information regarding impacts, falls and thermal stress.

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