Most visitors to this site will know that Mountain and Cave Rescue in the UK/RoI is a voluntary organisation, which works in partnership with the statutory emergency providers (mainly the Police and Ambulance Services) to help save lives and rescue those who are injured or lost in challenging environments. There are currently 113 teams located across England (52), Wales (15), Scotland (31), Northern Ireland (5) and the Republic of Ireland (10) and the combined number of people involved is approximately 3000. Many teams were established around 50 years ago although the first team was set up in 1935. The latest team was established in 2010.
Teams function independently and have their own constitution, official structure, training programmes, team base, specialised equipment, operational area and skill set. They manage their own accounting and fundraising strategies, membership recruitment and call-out procedures. They are each responsible for a designated geographical area (typically mountains, forests, cliffs, moorland and – in the case of cave rescue teams – underground settings) although joint training and incidents requiring large numbers of people, sometimes take members outside their own patch. Most teams also work alongside the statutory services in urban and semi-urban settings at times of civil emergency (e.g. extreme flooding).
All teams have specialised equipment, vehicles, skills and expertise to deal effectively with incidents in their particular area. Their major source of income is through donations and fundraising, although most teams receive very limited funding from Central Government. All members give their time freely, and in addition to their operational commitments, spend a vast amount of time in other ways such as training, fundraising, administration and public relations.
All teams are justifiably proud of their unique historical background and the working relationships established over many years with individuals and organisations in their local community.