In light of the large increase in numbers of people hiking or mountaineering in Ireland in the past couple of years, the Sligo Leitrim Mountain Rescue Team has produced six short informational videos to help people stay safe when on the mountain.
The safety video series is the first of its kind produced by a mountain rescue team, and was compiled with support from SligoWalks.ie. It informs hillwalkers and hikers how they should prepare for a hike and what to do should they find themselves lost or injured on the mountain.
“These videos are short and to the point,” explains Ciarán Davis, Team Leader with Sligo Leitrim Mountain Rescue Team (SLMRT). “They give you precise details on what to do if you find yourself in difficulty on the mountain. In many cases there is a lot that lost or injured hikers can do before the mountain rescue team reaches them, from tracking your precise location, moving to safer ground and helping the injured by providing First Aid.”
SLMRT were involved in 14 callouts this year, which unfortunately included 3 fatalities. These statistics represent an increase on previous years, due in part to the general increase in people who are out hiking since the pandemic began.
“Preparation is a vital part of staying safe while hiking,” says Fiona Gallagher of SLMRT, who presents one of the videos. “Since the pandemic began, there has been a very significant increase in the numbers of people taking to the Great Outdoors. But hiking – particularly in isolated locations – can be challenging, and videos like these are important in giving people the guidance they need before they set out, or when they find themselves in an emergency.”
The growth in popularity of hillwalking since the pandemic began has been important for both our physical and mental wellbeing. Nowadays, many more people than before are taking to the hills, but without adequate preparation, which includes packing suitable clothing, food and survival equipment in your backpack, the risks can increase, especially when bad weather sets in.
“We’ve had the experience of Storm Barra this week, and we now know just how quickly the weather can change,” says Councillor Paul Taylor, Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council, who helped launch the new safety video series. “We are fortunate to have the help of volunteers like the Sligo Leitrim Mountain Rescue Team to guide people who become lost, but, with better preparation, we can all limit the dangers posed on the mountain.”
The mountain safety video series covers six topics (listed below), presented as short-form tutorials (approx.. 2 minutes in duration), and presented by members of the SLMRT, Fiona Gallagher, Alan Sayers, Tim Roderick and Richard Kilfeather. They were produced by Omedia for SligoWalks.ie, a website dedicated to all aspects of walking in Sligo. The themes are universal, and are a useful tool for all walkers, especially those who are new to hiking and who perhaps need some help in preparing for what is a wonderful and healthy pastime, but one which also needs to be respected.
Calling the Emergency Services when lost – https://youtu.be/oUlum5hmhSA
How to deal with an accident – https://youtu.be/xaNPquBJHjs
Basic First Aid on the mountain – https://youtu.be/HEv9NL8pUu4
Following the STOP rule if lost – https://youtu.be/JTkBpN34JJY
How to prepare for a hike – https://youtu.be/qAWb4zShq6A
How to help the Emergency Services find you – https://youtu.be/LX8ID-pyr5k
The videos can be viewed online on the SligoWalks.ie website and across a range of social media channels.