The Structure of Mountain Rescue


Despite the uniqueness of every team, there is a commonality of purpose and a sharing of expertise, particularly through joint training and operational activities. A number of National Associations facilitate the exchange of knowledge and expertise and enable representation at regional and national levels. These are – Mountain Rescue England Wales (MREW), Mountain Rescue Ireland (MRI), Scottish Mountain Rescue (SMR), British Cave Rescue Committee (BCRC), National Search and Rescue Dog Association (NSARDA), Association of Lowland Search and Rescue (ALSAR) and the RAF Mountain Rescue Service (RAF MRS). These organisations represent and support individual teams in a wide variety of ways.

Mountain Rescue England and Wales

MREW is the representative body for teams in England and Wales. There are nine geographical regions. They are –

Some of these teams are also members of the British Cave Rescue Council (e.g. the Cave Rescue Organisation) and the National Search and Rescue Dog Association (SARDA England). Two teams (the Midlands Cave Rescue Organisation and the South East Cave Rescue Organisation) are not members of MREW but are members of the BCRC. Further information can be downloaded by clicking – MREW

Scottish Mountain Rescue

With the exception of Cairngorm, Glencoe, Lochaber and Tayside MRTs, SMR is the representative body for teams in Scotland. There are 3 Police teams, 1 cave rescue team, 1 RAF team, 2 SARDAs and 20 civilian teams. There is no regional structure in Scotland.

Mountain Rescue Ireland

MRI has 12 teams (10 in the Republic of Ireland and 2 in Northern Ireland). The Irish Cave Rescue Organisation is a member of the BCRC. The Police Service of Northern Ireland Rescue Organisation is not affiliated to a national body and SARDA (Ireland North) is affiliated to NSARDA.

British Cave Rescue Council

The BCRC represents 13 teams in England and Wales, 1 in Scotland and 1 in Ireland.

National Search and Rescue Dog Association

With the exception of SARDA (Scotland) and the Lake District Mountain Rescue Search Dog Association, there are 10 members of NSARDA located in England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and the Isle of Man. Three of these are also members of ALSAR.

Association of Lowland Search and Rescue

ALSAR is the UK’s governing body for lowland rescue. It comprises 36 teams based primarily in the Midlands and the South East of England. ALSAR is an associate member of MREW.

RAF Mountain Rescue Service

The RAF MRS provides the only military all weather search and rescue asset for the UK. Following recent consolidation it now comprise three teams – RAF Valley and RAF Leeming (also members of MREW) and RAF Lossiemouth (also a member of SMR).