Christmas thanks from Galway Mountain Rescue

Galway Mountain Rescue team leader Ronan Concannon and team PRO John Bourke would like to thank the people of Galway for their generosity in contributing to the team’s annual bucket collection held recently. The annual bucket collection is an extremely important fundraising activity for the organisation, and is used to replace rescue equipment, first aid materials, and to operate vehicles.

Galway Mountain Rescue would also like to thank the city council, community wardens, and the management of the Galway Shopping Centre for their support and facilitation in organising the collection.

Christmas can be a busy time in the hills of Connemara when the weather is mild. If you plan to go hiking over the holiday, please do so in a safe manner. A nice, clear, crisp winter’s day can very quickly become a dark, wet, and windy one with a minimum of visibility. Check the weather, and allow plenty of time to complete your walk ensuring you set out early in the day. Bring appropriate wind and water-proof clothing, and sturdy boots. Have particular regard for children in a group. Bring sufficient water and food for your hike and also carry extra in case of an emergency.

If cloud comes in or it gets dark you will not be able to navigate without a map, compass, and the ability to use them. Consult the Mountaineering Ireland website www.mountaineering.ie for further information on available training.

GPS units are extremely useful devices for navigating in the mountains. However, they should never be used in isolation, always bring a map and compass and know how to use them.

Be prepared to turn back if conditions are against you or if weaker members of the group cannot make it. Leave route details with somebody and report changes of route or timetable to someone who is expecting you. Most accidents occur late in the afternoon while descending when people are tired.

If you have a serious problem, stay put, and get a message to the Emergency Services (112 ) as soon as possible, and keep injured or exhausted people safe and warm until help reaches you. If you are able to summon help using your mobile phone, keep it switched on so you can be contacted.

However do not rely on a mobile phone to get you out of trouble. Signal coverage in the mountains of Connemara is very unreliable.

If you cannot contact anyone, use six whistle blasts or six torch flashes to signal an emergency. It could be more than four hours before help can reach you even if your position is known.

Without proper wind and water-proof clothing, food and warm drinks, hypothermia will set in quickly putting you and your group in a serious medical emergency.

GMRT provides a rescue service for the mountainous regions of County Galway and County Clare on a entirely voluntary basis. For more information, please visit www.gmrt.ie Have a safe Christmas from all at Galway Mountain Rescue

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