Being a team member is a fairly demanding role, even in a less busy team like mine in the Mid Pennines. You need to be able to commit to approximately one to two years training before you get on the call out list. Training involves both evenings and weekends, and leads to you eventually meeting a strict criteria on a range of subjects.
On the call out team, you need to be able to commit to continuing training and be available for call outs at any time, day or night. Within each team there are also dedicated party leaders to coordinate activities on the hill, specialist’s in rope rescue and casualty carers – among other roles.
Call outs are often long, involving a lot of standing around waiting to be deployed. They can also involve working well into the night.
Teams are often called out to assist police searches, as searching open moorland or dense woodland requires our specialist skills. It is often starting to get dark when we begin our searches, so you need to be able to cope working late into the night – even if you have had a long day at work and need to be up again in the morning.
Will your employer give you the flexibility to drop everything if you get a call? This isn’t always needed, as teams are made up of people who have a 9-5 job, like me, and people who are self-employed and can be more flexible. However, I still know that if i get a call, I could, if needed, leave work. You also need to consider whether or not your partner would be happy with coming second if you get a call and had plans for the evening.
Can you help carry a stretcher across rough moorland and rocky terrain? (it is a myth that everyone who is rescued is airlifted by helicopter). Are you capable of being out on the hill for hours searching for a casualty?
This includes fundraising, managing equipment and vehicles, and helping with fetes and galas to promote the team.