Avon and Somerset Search and Rescue (ASSAR) sounds pretty straightforward, right? They search, and they rescue. But a particular aspect of the ASSAR is a bit perplexing: the Mountain Rescue Team. I know what you’re thinking – Mountains? In England? Or at the very least, in Somerset? We just have really big hills, right?
Well, I’d say you were right in that regard. We certainly don’t have any Everests, but we do have some pretty big cliffs. To be precise, we have Avon and Cheddar Gorge, two of the UK’s largest inland cliffs. And since people, and animals, like wandering around in nature where there are big cliffs and deep gorges and getting themselves into trouble, Mountain Rescue was formed.
The team, like all Mountain Rescue teams, is formed entirely of volunteers, and, like all parts of the ASSAR, are on call 24/7, 365 days a year. These people need to know all manners of skills such as first-aid and technical ropework, while also having to maintain all their equipment, bases and vehicles. Their work is physically and emotionally gruelling, as they rescue people (and animals) from precipitous crags or nigh-inaccessible places, as well as occasionally having to recover bodies. All this while being unpaid volunteers!
And not only this, but the Mountain Rescue team must also be prepared and able to rescue people from water, instead of mountains. Rivers, swift water, flooded streets… These are all under the jurisdiction of Mountain Rescue. They can also be called upon to help with the Air Ambulance helicopters, search and rescue dog associations, and cave rescue. This is because they’re specialists in the field of, well, fieldwork and difficult terrains, so the Emergency Services call them out to ensure rescues are as swift and safe as possible.
What a job, right? These people are champs, heroes even.
So if you were wondering why Avon and Somerset had a Mountain Rescue team, now you know – and we’re very grateful for all these volunteers.
If you want to help, you can donate to Mountain Rescue at https://www.mountain.rescue.org.uk/how-you-can-help-us/online-donations
To donate to ASSAR, go here: http://www.ascrt.com/donate/