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Mayo Mountain Rescue Team – Providing a voluntary 999 Service for County Mayo
By Peter Jordan
22, Oct 2008 - 21:06

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Team load a casualty on to Air Corps Helicopter for Medivac on Reek Sunday 2008

Mayo Mountain Rescue Team is a Voluntary Organisation which provides a 24/7 999 emergency service all over County Mayo. The team is made up of a group of both male and female volunteers from all over the county who make themselves available for call out at the shortest notice to assist people who have got into difficulties on the mountains of Mayo, be it getting injured whilst climbing or walking or becoming lost in a mountainous area.

Team Leader Michael O’Malley (L) and Chairman Shane Maguire (R) demonstrate the teams new computerised GPS tracking system to Superintendent Doyle of Westport Gardai, The teams new Command and Control Van is visible in the background

Mayo Mountain Rescue Team was founded in the late 1980s as part of the Western Mountain Rescue Team. At the start activity was low with few callouts and little organisation and training. In 1996 MMRT began a recruitment of new members and set out an aspiration to maintain a team of 35 members. Since then the team has gone from strength to strength with a core group of long serving members and a waiting list of new applicants to join each year as some existing members are forced to cut back due to other commitments. However there are a core of dedicated individuals that have remained tem member for the entire life of the team and bring their considerable skills and experience to bear at each training or rescue incident. Each year with the influx of new members training schedules are put in place and fund-raising committees organised. The team receive limited Government funding each year through the Coast Guard, however most of the running costs of the team, which run to in excess of €30k per annum, are covered by donations and fundraising activities undertaken by the team themselves.

Mountain Rescue / Order of Malta Medical Tent on Croagh Patrick on Reek Sunday

All but the newest members have Mountain Skills Training and First Aid to Rescue Emergency Care (REC) and Advanced REC level. Whilst many members also have partaken in Cliff Rescue, Rigging for Rescue, Search Management, Party Leader and Mountain Leadership Training. The equipment has also vastly improved over time with new lighter stretchers, vacuum splints, radios and a Land Rover, for use as an Ambulance and Mobile Base, being purchased. 2007 saw the commissioning into service of our new purpose built communications centre and mobile base. All members provide their own gear and equipment such as personal protective clothing, boots, rucksacks and navigation equipment. The team has a range of specialist technical rescue equipment and personal protection equipment available for use by all members who receive ongoing training in the safe use of all such equipment.

Mayo Team on Reek Sunday 2008

As mentioned previously Mayo Mountain Rescue Team is a Voluntary Organisation. It is comprised of hill walkers and mountaineers from all over Mayo and even further afield. The team responds to emergency callouts predominantly on Croagh Patrick with up to 80% of all annual callouts being focused on the pilgrimage mountain as well as out main annual focus of Reek Sunday where MMRT coordinate the activities of all MR Teams attending for the pilgrimage of up to 25,000 people climbing on this one day at the end of July. However MMRT have also carried out searches and rescues in many other parts of the county including Achill Island, Mweelrea and the Nephin range as well as being involved in various other outdoor events throughout the county such as the Focus Ireland 4 peaks Challenge on Mweelrea, The Gael Force Adventure Race based in the Westport Area and participating in HSE West Major Emergency Planning and Training Exercises.

MMRT Ropework/Cliff Rescue Training on Achill Island 2

The Mayo Mountain Rescue Team are normally called out by The Gardai Siochana whenever they receive reports of missing or injured persons on any mountainous or inhospitable area of the county. To date in 2008 the team have responded to 19 callouts, the total for 2007 was 29 callouts and for 2006 was 28. In addition the team are often requested to assist other teams around the country and in recent years have assisted Kerry, Galway, Sligo Leitrim and Dublin Wicklow teams in searches for missing persons. 

MMRT on Croagh Patrick

Emergency Callout Guidelines:
In an EMERGENCY if you require the assistance of a Mountain Rescue Team dial 999 OR 112. You will get through to an emergency operator who will ask you what service you require. State "Mountain Rescue" and the team/area you require.
You will be put through to a representative of a mountain rescue team who may inquire about or request some or all of the following information if available.
1. Nature of emergency: Lost, Injured, Disorientation, Hypothermia, etc
2. Number of people in party.
3. Injuries type (If any) , numbers of injured, level of consciousness of injured parties, degree of disability or mobility of injured parties. Medical history injured parties, Medications.
4. If lost, last known location or any obvious visible landmarks.
5. Point of departure, direction of travel, route plan, duration and speed of travel.
6. Your name, address and contact number.
7. Protective clothing and shelter (Bivvy bags, etc) available

Mayo Team venture onto Croagh Patrick for another rescue

Mayo Mountain Rescue team are currently recruiting new members for the 2008/09 year. If you have experience of hill walking, are of a good level of fitness, have some mountaineering or medical skills and think you could make the commitment required for training and call outs then Mayo MRT would like to hear from you. Visit or e-mail for an application form before the end of October.
MMRT Ropework/Cliff Rescue Training on Achill Island

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