Wasdale Team Leaders Views
on the Three Peaks Challenge
13 June 2005 - Email to the Institute of Fundraising - The Organisation that prepares the Codes of Practice
Subject: UK Challenge Summary Events Code of Practice
I have read with interest the summary code of practice for challenge events involving the 3 Peaks Challenge and would like to make a couple of observations. I understand that you may be in the process of drafting a new version and therefore hope my comments prove to be timely.
1. I note that event organisers and Marshalls are advised to inform local Mountain Rescue Teams prior to events. I am the Team Leader of the Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team, covering Scafell Pike and would say that I find such
advice to be unnecessary. In reality, our rescue team will respond if requested to in the event of any injury or incident requiring our support. Prior knowledge that lots of people will be on the mountain doesn't actually make any difference to our arrangements. We're always on call anyway.
2 There is a lot of good practical safety advice which I would strongly support. The advice to Marshalls to "have a plan for incidents, even the worst" could usefully be expanded. Experience has shown that a significant number of emergency 999 calls from the fells can be picked up at any call handling centre in the UK. In such circumstances there have been
incidents where emergency operators don't in fact know how to put callers in touch with Mountain Rescue (unbelievable I know, but I'm afraid it's true!) It might therefore be useful to put in the guidance note that if MR is required for any incident, the number to ring is 999 and ask for the Police. The Police will contact Mountain Rescue. The informant should wait to be contacted by the MR. Future protocol for use of the contact number will be agreed between the MR contact and the informant but it is vital that they remain by the phone of stay where they are (if using a
mobile) until first contact has been established.
3. I'm aware that some organisations hire so called "safety support" for their events. My view on this is that whilst hiring guides may well prove to be appropriate and marshalling of larger events is certainly a good plan for ensuring participants don't get lost, such groups offer little actual ability to deal with true mountain accidents. Such incidents require trained, skilled and experienced people, with specialist equipment and experience of using it in order to provide the best available service for the unfortunate casualty. From my experience, I would strongly recommend event organisers only consider "safety support" and marshals as resources for reducing the risk of potential incidents. If they are unfortunate enough to experience injury to participants, they're far better off immediately notifying the Police and asking for the local MR.
4. In the case of missing or long overdue walkers it should be noted that MR's may not necessarily rush to search for them - such decisions will depend very much on the specific circumstances being reported. For example, experience on Scafell Pike indicates that most often, people simply need more time to make their own way off. However, if organisers
and marshals have genuine concerns for the safety of any of their participants, they should certainly seek local advice, again through the Police and MR.
Hope these comments help but if you would like to discuss please don't hesitate to get in touch.
Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team
tel: day time hours 019467 86111 home 019467 25463
Also - read the incident 11 June 2007 which was relayed to the local radio station to encourage challenge eventers to be more considerate
The following email is the response from the Institute of Fundraising who produce the codes of practice
To: Julian Carradice, Team Leader Wasdale MRT
Subject: RE: UK Challenge Summary Events Code of Practice
Thank you for these comments which will be useful when we revise the code.
Policy and Standards Officer
Institute of Fundraising
12 Lawn Lane
Tel: 020 7840 1000
Fax: 020 7841 1001
The Institute of Fundraising is the only professional body in the UK
representing fundraisers and fundraising. Its aim is to promote the
highest standards of fundraising practice. The Institute is a Registered
Charity no 1079573 and a Company Limited by Guarantee no 3870883. VAT
Registration No 547 8930 96.