Rossendale and Pendle MRT could not provide this valuable community service without the commitment and enthusiasm of our team members – both operational and support. So how do you become involved? Here’s a few of the most frequently asked questions.
Q. How do I become an operational member?
A. We aim to take on a new group of trainees every year. Anyone is welcome to apply to be a trainee, providing they can demonstrate they have the required commitment, a basic working knowledge of mountaincraft – and the necessary basic equipment – and are willing to learn new skills. More importantly, they must be a team player.
Q. How long does it take?
A. Trainee training begins with a six week induction period, which gives us the opportunity to assess your character and skills, and teach you the rudiments of team membership and you the opportunity to decide whether this is for you! Following the induction period, trainees join in with full team training – every Wednesday evening and at least one weekend session per month – to learn how the team works, how we approach different scenarios, and to familiarise all team members with the equipment, procedures and protocols.
Individual trainees can be made up to operational trainees, once they have shown they have sufficient knowledge and commitment but this is rare within the first year. At this point, they are invited to attend certain call outs to further expand their skills.
Operational trainees are made up to fully operational team members only when the team leader is satisfied they have fully demonstrated the level required. This process may take two years or more – and some never become fully operational.
Full team members continue to be assessed and monitored on their level of competence and commitment.
Q. What basic skills do I need?
A. Basic first aid certificate preferable and the ability use a map and compass.
Q. What equipment do I need?
A. An operational team member should have maps (1:25,000) of the team’s area, a compass, a rucksack (at least 40litre), suitable outdoor clothing, waterproofs and boots, and a headtorch and handlamp.
Once operational, we aim to provide each team member with team badged waterproof clothing, a hand held radio and pager, funds permitting.
Q. How much time would I be expected to commit?
A. The honest answer is – far more than you think! But the key word here is honesty. As volunteers, we all give as much time as we can afford. Work and family commitments vary from team member to team member, and sometimes change with time. Some team members are available during the working week, others only in the evenings or at weekend, and still others work shift patterns. All we ask is that team members – and potential trainees – honestly assess the time they are prepared to commit, and continue to do so. From an operational point of view this is key to knowing what resources we can offer the emergency services at any incident.
And it’s not just availability for incidents you need to consider. There’s the regular weekly training, at least one full day weekend exercise a month and regular fundraising events. You will quickly find that mountain rescue becomes part of your life – and your family’s!
Q. What skills should I have before applying for membership and what will you teach me?
We expect potential trainees to have a basic level of year round hill competence, be able to use a map and compass and to demonstrate an understanding of the basic knots such as bowline, figure of eight and clove hitch. A basic level of first aid competency is preferable, but you would be expected to complete the Casualty Care Course – and take the exam – during its first three year cycle after joining the team.
Once a trainee, besides general familiarisation with the equipment and vehicles, you would also undertake training in radio communications, stretcher handling, search procedures and helicopter protocol.
Before being upgraded to operational team members, you would be expected to attend a weekend foundation course, where you will have the opportunity to work with other trainees from our neighbouring teams.
Q. How do I join?
You can apply to become an operational team member or a support
member. We aim to take on a new group of trainees every year. Anyone
is welcome to apply to be a trainee, providing they can demonstrate
they have the required commitment, a basic working knowledge of
mountaincraft – and the necessary basic equipment – and are willing
to learn new skills. More importantly, they must be a team player.
Support members join in non-operational activities such as
fundraising, events and ‘tin shakes’ – anything where we need more
manpower and welcome a fresh input of ideas.
To apply, fill in the appropriate application form and return to The
Secretary, 46 Clegg Street, Haslingden, Rossendale, Lancashire BB4 5LW.
Download an application form