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The Dublin & Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team work in conjunction with many different agencies, when the team is operational on a call out. The team’s primary response area covers the wild and remote mountains of County Wicklow up to the gentler foothills of county Dublin. The team also cover North County Dublin area, where we have responded to Howth Head on a number of occasions and we also cover as far north as the Cooley Mountains in Co. Louth.
Mountain Rescue Teams
In the majority of cases in our primary response area, we would work very closely with our neighbouring MR team, the Glen of Imaal Red Cross Mountain Rescue Team. Together we supply a mountain rescue service for those who find themselves in need in the Wicklow Mountains.
On a number of occasions throughout the year, our team works in cooperation with the other Irish mountain rescue teams. On large operations we can call upon the rest of the country to supply mountain rescue personnel, equipment and expertise to support our operations. We regularly travel to assist other teams around the island of Ireland.
One such occasion is set in stone within the mountain rescue calendar, when all the mountain rescue teams in Ireland come together to provide rescue cover for Croagh Patrick on Garland Sunday (Reek Sunday), where up 30,000 pilgrim’s will summit the mountain.
A large majority of our incidents happen within the boundaries of the national park and to this end we regularly work in conjunction with the national park staff. The NP staff provide excellent resources and their local knowledge is invaluable in assisting MR Teams around the country.
The tasking agency for mountain rescue in Ireland is An Garda Síochána (Irish Police Force). When a person dials 112 or 999 and requests help from mountain rescue, their call is routed through the local Garda command and control centre and the Gardaí will then notify the appropriate MR team that covers the area to respond. The Gardaí will work in conjunction with the team to supply logistical support and if required Garda personnel on the ground to assist with the running of the operation. The local Gardaí will appoint a member to liaise with the MR rescue base coordinators.
When someone finds themselves injured in the mountains, the first port of call medically, will possibly be with one of their companions, who might have completed a first aid course (Mountain Rescue encourages anybody who is venturing into our hills and mountains to have a completed a first aid course). When members of the MR team arrive they are part of a chain in the continual delivery of pre-hospital care. When MR gets you down off the mountain we then deliver you into the expert hands of the local ambulance service to continue your journey to definitive medical care. The DWMRT will mainly work with ambulance crews form Wicklow, Baltinglass, and Loughlinstown ambulance stations.
Irish Coast Guard
MR teams work closely with members of the Irish Coast Guard. For ourselves, we have a good working relationship with our colleagues both in the Marine Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Leeson lane who provide coordination on SAR missions and with the Greystones Coast Guard Unit, who we regularly work with on operations on Bray Head. As part of the remit of the Irish Coast Guard, they provide an all weather search and rescue helicopter service. There are four bases in Ireland, these are located at Waterford, Shannon, Sligo and the helicopter SAR base that we work closest with is the crew of the Sikorsky S-61N helicopter based at Dublin Airport call-sign Rescue 116.
Irish Air Corps
In prearranged and prolonged operations the Irish Air Corps provides support to MR with its air assets. Between its Agusta Westland AW139 and it Eurocopter EC135 they can provide aerial support in searches, personnel , equipment transportation into the mountains and casualty evacuation. Through the Irish Air Corps fixed wing assets, in time of need, the Air Corp can help transport MR personnel from different teams into our area of operation if required or transport our team to other areas.
In prolonged searches the civil defence provides use of their resources to assist with the operation. The civil defence play a major supporting role to the team with trained search managers, trained searchers and transport logistics.
Coillte Ireland provides logistical support to the team in the form of mapping of Coillte owned forest and they supply keys for the different barriers which allows access to forested areas. The local forester is never far away to provide excellent local knowledge.
Scouting has long been a close ally to our team, with many of the team members with their early roots in scouting. Larch Hill the National Scout centre plays host to a number of national and international MR training courses. Larch Hill has also supplied members to help with search and rescue operations. The indoor accommodation on several large searches has become home to mountain rescuers looking for a sleep in between operational periods.