- First call Metro Rescue using the emergency number 10177.
- Then call Wilderness Search and Rescue on 021 937 0300.They will liaise with Metro Rescue.
- State clearly to either MCSA rescue or Metro rescue the nature of the surrounding terrain and the nature of the injury to the patient. It is recommended that every leader carry a cell phone and that he/she organises reporting procedures and an exchange of cell phone numbers within his/her party.
- All members should carry their MCSA membership cards with them and have basic first aid and emergency equipment with them. They should be fully aware of emergency call-out procedures below:
When contact is made:
- State that you are in a wilderness area and why you need an S&R response.
- State in which wilderness area (not the town) of the Southern Cape you are.
- Give your contact number and that of your deputy who should be with you.
- Stay in the area where you have found cell phone reception.
- Make it clear that your cell battery is low so you may have to go to SMS mode.
- If there is another cell phone with good battery capacity, give this number to the rescuers as a back up.
Information required to be transmitted:
- Your location in GPS coordinates are the best.
- Your team’s location and the patient’s location, if different from the caller’s.
- The time of the incident/accident, this will influence medical decisions.
- The nature of the accident/problem.
- The nature of injuries.
- The number of patients.
- The number in the group and their competencies: First Aid, rope skills etc.
- The manner in which the party has split if needed to get cell phone reception.
- Your and your party’s state of supplies and gear: water, first aid kit, shelter etc.
- The state of the weather.
- Any local area knowledge you may have: access, escape routes, roads, paths etc.
- Specify if you can, any specialised equipment or response personnel needed.
Remaining in Contact:
- It is crucial that the caller stays in contact with his team.
- Stay in contact with the Incident Centre; follow instructions regarding methods and time frames.
- Do not be alone if at all possible; caller should have a companion if away from the team.
- Keep written notes of all calls, SMS messages, interactions etc.
- Stay calm and look after yourself – you are important in making the task of the rescue personnel possible.
Points to remember:
- When lost, always move to higher ground as it is easier to see approaching people and easier for rescuers to see you. Always position yourself at a well-recognisable point such as a sign post, hill top, river crossing, bridge etc. This makes it easier to explain where you are and for rescuers to use your landmarks.
- Preferably wear yellow outer garments since yellow is visible day and night while red appears black at night.
- Cameras and cell phones with flashes make wonderful strobe lights and are good for attracting attention at night, again from high ground.
- Always carry a headlight with you.
- One can stay warm by wrapping oneself in plants, especially Helichrysum: grey shrub.
- Stay calm and ration your food and water.
- Use unnatural shapes such as squares or triangles to mark the area where you are so that they can be easily recognisable from the air.
- It is a good idea to have a brightly coloured streamer (yellow or orange) a few metres long, that can be waved in the air to attract attention. These can be made from parachute material.
- Carry a small emergency blanket in your backpack.
- NEVER SPLIT UP YOUR PARTY UNLESS THERE IS VERY GOOD REASON TO DO SO.
- Do not move and injured person unless you have to, especially after a fall and possible back injury.
- In situations where there is excessive loss of blood, raise the injured limb and apply a pressure bandage. By elevating the injury, one concentrates blood to around vital organs – chest and head.
- Use a space blanket to keep the patient warm. Apply while patient is warm; do not wait till they are cold.
- One or preferably two persons should stay with the injured person until help arrives. If the injured has fallen and is not reachable it is still essential to remain as close as safely possible and maintain verbal contact, as this can be encouragement, even to a semi-conscious person.
MCSA disclaimer: Since mountain climbing has its risks, all who join in Mountain Club outings do so entirely at their own risk. By joining a meet, they agree to place themselves under the direction of the Meet Leader. No sub-parties may be formed or alternate routes followed without the meet leader’s approval.
Those wishing to operate independently should arrange their own outings. An MCSA leader has the right to refuse entry to her/his meet of any person whom she/he feels is lacking in the necessary experience and fitness, or else is felt to be inadequately equipped for the outing.