It’s safe to say that the last few days have been busy for CVSRT and fellow rescue teams across the country with members working around the clock in shifts to provide support for the emergency services, local councils and associated agencies during the challenging weather extremes everyone has experienced and in some remote areas is still experiencing.
It is worth remembering that the team is a charity funded entirely by donations with all team members volunteering their time freely. In most cases, members have full time jobs and families to support, as well as juggling their commitment to the rescue team. Granted, no one forces them to go out in all weather conditions, day or night, to help those in need, but we do regardless of the circumstance. The sense of community is at the heart of the team with a sole purpose to unconditionally help those in most need. Hard times often bring out the best in people and we have witnessed some incredible acts of kindness towards complete strangers and neighbours alike, which is warming to see in such bitterly cold temperatures.
It would take too long to report on every incident that the team has been involved with during our snow patrols, so in summary we have collated a selection of photos and videos, with details of a few incidents.
• Team assisted Yorkshire Ambulance Service with a casualty with a suspected fractured neck of femur
• Team assisted West Yorkshire Police and neighbouring rescue teams with patrolling high-level routes rescuing drivers and families in distress - in some cases, vehicles had skidded off the road or were stranded for several hours in snowdrifts with sub-zero temperatures and high winds with no supplies
• Local farmers helped to clear a route for a patient to get to hospital for dialysis – Team drove the patient home afterwards.
• 22 people evacuated from M62 to a place of refuge at the North Bridge Leisure Centre. Also supplied hot drinks to stranded drivers on M62 throughout the night.
• High-level patrols continued for several days with the team assisting countless stranded drivers helping to dig out vehicles or evacuating the passengers to a place of safety.
Plus many more taskings from West Yorkshire Police.
Whilst the worst of the weather appears to have passed, snow continues to fall and certain areas of high ground remain affected with difficult driving conditions.
CVSRT remains on standby to assist where required. Please be vigilant, plan ahead and stay safe. Thank you.
High Brown Knoll, 21:30hrs
“Calder Control; this is 'Exercise Charlie One' requesting an exercise helimed for a subject with a suspected MI at grid reference Sierra Echo 0098 3042. Over.”
“Control to Exercise Charlie One, Helimed 99 is en route to your location. ETA 30 minutes. Over”
“Control, just to confirm; actual Helimed 99 en route, not an exercise helimed? Over.”
“Correct, prep a landing site. Out.”
This was the point our evening suddenly became interesting. Tasked with finding four overdue Scouts and their leader, we’d trudged our way through the snow up to the trig point following their planned route. Our casualties were located in an emergency shelter, overdue as their leader had had a ‘funny turn’. While the nominated casualty carer set about dealing with the patient, the rest of us took care of the Scouts and came up with a plan. Normally, requesting a helimed at night was unheard of, but as the Yorkshire Air Ambulance had started flying at night and we needed our casualty evacuated as fast as possible, we figured why not ask. We were surprised when it was granted. A first for our team landing the air ambulance at night, let alone on top of a summit in full winter conditions.
The next 20 hours were to be the culmination of the past year of training, and our past six months on the call out list. With a range on mentors on site to assess our capability, we would take turns performing each specific role within the Search and Rescue Team across a variety of different scenarios – this was our final assessment before we were granted full team membership.
With our patient airborne, we walked the Scouts off the hill towards where we had arranged a rendezvous with a team vehicle. Re-united with their leader, who’d made a miraculous recovery in the back of the air ambulance, we debriefed on the scenario and awaited our next tasking. We were given a grid reference a few kilometres away and a specific route to take there.
But what would we find? Maybe we’ll be searching for a vulnerable missing person? Or a farmer who was showing early signs of heart failure and needed evacuation from his house to an ambulance? Or a Geocacher, who had fallen down a cascade and broken his ankle? How about someone who fell off a crag who was holding onto a tree and needed hauling back up? All pretty regular jobs for CVSRT, ones we’ve seen and trained for. The answer was all five scenarios - spaced out overnight and into the next day when we finally returned to base, stripped all our kit down, re packed the vehicles ready for a real callout, and then debriefed for the last time.
Thankfully we all passed our final assessment and qualified as full team members. For us, this is just the beginning. Though full team members now, we’ve only just started learning what it really means to be part of the mountain rescue family at CVSRT. Our best wishes go to the next batch of trainees who are about to start their training.
CVSRT would like to thank West Yorkshire Police and Yorkshire Air Ambulance for the assistance with the night evacuation. Thanks also to the staff at Hardcastle Crags for the use of their barn and Adrian & Kathryn Leach for the use of their farm. Finally, thanks to all the CVSRT members and active supporters group who helped and supported us during our final ‘Probie Assessment’ weekend.
CVSRT Probationary Members (2017-18)
Greg May, John Hickling, Matt Keyse and Tom Britten
Written by CVSRT Greg May. Photography by CVSRT Dave Howarth, Al Day and Howard Barton.
At 13:08 today, CVSRT received a request from Yorkshire Ambulance Service for help with the evacuation of a gentleman who had become ill and required medical assistance whilst out walking in the Common Bank Woods area of Hebden Bridge.
27 CVSRT members where available to respond immediately and made their way to the location in team vehicles or directly. Within 17minutes the first team members were on-scene and assisted the ambulance crew to make the casualty comfortable. He was then packaged in a winter casualty bag and made ready for the stretcher evacuation.
Due to the steep ground woodland location, a ‘walking v’ rope system was rigged to the stretcher to assist with the extraction. Once the ground levelled out, the gentleman was stretchered across several fields to the road and handed over to the ambulance crew.
At 14:16, CVSRT members stood down and returned to base to replenish kit before continuing onward to their homes.
In attendance: 27 CVSRT
Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS)
- Date Sunday, 21 January 2018
- Location Common Bank Woods, Hebden Bridge
- Grid Reference SD 99673 27040
- Latitude 53.739742
- Longitude -2.0064345
- Man Hours 3hrs 52mins
- Members In Attendance 27
At 11:25 Calder Valley Search & Rescue Team received its first callout request of the day from Yorkshire Ambulance Service to assist with an injured male mountain biker who had fallen from his ride in the Oxenhope area. Very shortly after the full team callout had started, we received news that the ambulance crew with assistance from some very kind members of the public had helped the injured rider to the ambulance. The team were promptly stood down.
However at 11:50 CVSRT received a second request for assistance from Yorkshire Ambulance Service and West Yorkshire Police to locate a female walker near Stoodley Pike who had slipped on black ice sustaining a very painful ankle injury.
20 CVSRT members were available to respond and immediately made their way to the location. Once on-scene team members treated the casualty for an isolated ankle injury, providing pain relief and splinting. Once the casualty was more comfortable, she was packaged and transferred by stretcher to a road ambulance for onward journey to hospital.
In attendance: 20 CVSRT
Yorkshire Ambulance Service
West Yorkshire Police
Duration: 2hrs 42mins
- Date Sunday, 07 January 2018
- Location Stoodley Pike
- Grid Reference SD 96377 23115
- Latitude 53.704452
- Longitude -2.0563589
- Man Hours 64.2
- Members In Attendance 20
CVSRT received a request from Yorkshire Ambulance Service to provide assistance to ambulance crews during the adverse weather snowy/ice conditions throughout the Calder Valley and surrounding areas.
In attendance: 14 CVSRT
Duration: 8hrs 30mins
- Date Friday, 29 December 2017
- Location Calder Valley
- Grid Reference SE010259
- Latitude 53.730143
- Longitude -1.9853510
- Man Hours 119
- Members In Attendance 14
And the results are in…
We are very pleased to announce that 35 members from CVSRT and 1 member from HVMRT successfully completed the MREW Casualty Care Examination (Theory & Practical) this weekend. For some this was their first time to take the exams whilst for most it was to recertify their qualifications.
CVSRT would like to thank members of: Cave Rescue Organisation (CRO) for providing a Senior Examiner and two training casualties, Bolton Mountain Rescue Team (BMRT) for providing an assessor and to Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association (UWFRA) for providing four casualties. Many thanks also to the four examiners who were in attendance from Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) – from Halifax, Bradford Emergency Department, Scarborough RNLI and a clinical supervisor from East Yorkshire.
The successful completion of this Casualty Care Examination is the culmination of several months hard work, perseverance and dedication by team members. It’s worth remembering that all members are specially trained volunteers from the community who have full time jobs where medical care isn’t their chosen vocation. We feel this is an excellent achievement and reinforces our commitment to provide the best possible casualty care to the community.
Non of this would be possible without the selfless help from the numerous medical professionals and fellow mountain rescue volunteers who, over the last few months and this weekend have given up their spare time to assist with our casualty care training and examination. This will be echoed around the country over the coming months as other mountain rescue teams take their examinations. We would also like to thank our active supporters who continue to support the team week after week.
Last but certainly not least, thank you to our families who put up with the long hours of training and who make it possible for us to drop everything at a moments notice to dash off to provide assistance to a complete stranger in their time of need.
Thank you all.
At 14:29 CVSRT received a request from Yorkshire Ambulance Service to assist with the evacuation of a 74yr old lady who had fallen whilst out walking in woodland and sustained a broken leg.
Once on-scene, CVSRT members packaged the casualty in a vacuum mattress and evacuated the lady via stretcher to the waiting ambulance.
In attendance: 12 CVSRT
Total Duration: 2hrs 1min
- Date Tuesday, 10 October 2017
- Location Chellow Dene
- Grid Reference SE 11212 35278
- Latitude 53.813664
- Longitude -1.8311977
- Man Hours 25.2
- Members In Attendance 12
At 13:40, CVSRT received a request from Yorkshire Ambulance Service to assist with the evacuation of a gentleman who had sustained a broken ankle whilst out walking.
Once on-scene team members assisted with a short stretcher carry up to the road and handed the casualty over to the ambulance crew.
In attendance: 18 CVSRT
Total Duration: 1hrs 55mins
- Date Sunday, 08 October 2017
- Location Widdop Reservoir
- Grid Reference SD 92128 33488
- Latitude 53.797635
- Longitude -2.1209836
- Man Hours 37.3
- Members In Attendance 18
At midnight, CVSRT received a request from Yorkshire Ambulance Service to assist with the evacuation of a male from his vehicle that had left the road and gone down the embankment.
Team stood down en-route. Enough emergency services on-scene to deal.
In attendance: 22 CVSRT
Total Duration: 1hrs
- Date Thursday, 05 October 2017
- Location A672, Rishworth
- Grid Reference SE0020115738
- Latitude 53.638163
- Longitude -1.9984388
- Man Hours 22
- Members In Attendance 22
At 13:25, CVSRT received a request from Yorkshire Ambulance Service to assist with a casualty suffering breathing difficulties at a farm with limited vehicle access.
CM2 was already out covering an event at Robinwood Activity Centre so despatched directly to the scene to offer assistance. Yorkshire Air Ambulance were also on scene.
In attendance: 8 CVSRT
Yorkshire Ambulance Service
Yorkshire Air Ambulance
Total Duration: 3hrs 35mins
- Date Saturday, 02 September 2017
- Location Sykes Gate Farm, Cragg Vale
- Grid Reference SE 00434 21453
- Latitude 53.689528
- Longitude -1.9948983
- Man Hours 28.7
- Members In Attendance 8