The members of the 40 Mountain Rescue Teams (MRT) in the United Kingdom, are all highly trained volunteers. Each of the Mountain Rescue Teams are independent charities and receive no direct government funding. Each team relies entirely on public support, fund raising, donations and Lottery funding to fund their equipment and service. Maintaining a MRT headquarters costs around £40,000 a year, so those very same volunteers who use their time to search and rescue, also have to raise sufficient funds to maintain the service.
Buxton Mountain Rescue Team cover some of the most challenging terrain in the Peak District, in Derbyshire, England and the team were especially delighted when approached by our CEO James Gedye, who very kindly donated an Ecotile interlocking PVC floor for the team’s headquarters in Buxton, Derbyshire.
The 50 members of Buxton MRT are all unpaid volunteers who go out at a moments notice when an emergency arises, and assist the public and even animals needing specialist help. They give their time and expertise to assist those in need, often in wild and remote places, in all weathers, at all times of day and often, in some extremely challenging terrain. The team also carry out missing person searches, including missing children and vulnerable adults, on and off the hills, whilst giving emotional support to their families.
Mountain Rescue Teams can only be sent out on the authority of the Police. The force most local to the incident, responds to a 999 call or the report of a missing person and actions the call out. The police control alert the MRT co-ordinators by team pager, the co-ordinator then first alerts the team and discusses the details of the incident with the police and agree where to rendezvous. Decisions have to be made quickly and effectively, as to whether other teams, dogs, helicopters etc should be called out to assist. Some detective work is often required in locating the missing and injured. Abandoned cars, rucksacks, route cards and clues from the calls are combined with years of experience to help form the search plan. It’s a challenging environment in the Derbyshire Peak District, especially in winter and having the right equipment is essential to staying safe in the outdoors, whether hiking, running or biking.
The right equipment is also essential to the team’s base. The Ecotile floor has made a big difference to the team in transforming their space so it’s more comfortable underfoot, yet withstands knocks, constant use and is low maintenance and easy to maintain after returning to base. The team chose a chequered design in Graphite and Red for the kitchen area, with plain Graphite laid in the vehicle and training areas, complete with the team’s logo printed onto a tile.
“Dealing with James and his team at Ecotile has been a real pleasure. They took the time to understand our needs and propose a custom solution that surpassed our expectations. Fitting was completed in just one day and the team ensured that not only was the product fitted with incredible attention to detail but also that they had the minimum impact on the team’s operations. We are so grateful to James and the team at Ecotile for this incredible donation, and would wholeheartedly recommend it!” Matt Simmon (Logistics Coordinator)
Buxton MRT run in excess of 175 training sessions each year, totaling at least 797 Hours, ensuring that every team member is as fully equipped as possible to provide help and assistance when required. The team were called out 107 times last year, totalling 281 hours from call out to stand down, so their headquarters is crucial to the smooth operation of the volunteers. The HQ provides their training base, meeting space, vehicle storage and maintenance and it’s where the team recover and de-brief after a search. This one space fits a lot of criteria and the versatility of the Ecotile flooring perfectly fits their demanding needs, in providing a heavy-duty flooring solution for the team’s requirements. The new floor was laid straight over the existing concrete floor, which had to be regularly painted to keep dust down and to keep it from breaking down, due to it constantly being wet. The new Ecotile high impact flooring provides a much cleaner non-slip comfort under foot, whilst training sessions happen on the floor, in First Aid, CPR, stretcher training and cragg training etc, making it much more comfortable when standing around for long periods watching demonstrations in CPR etc.
“The flooring has totally transformed our training space! No longer do we have to lay on a cold floor for medical training, or worry about repainting the floor year on year.” Rob Stordy (Deputy Team Leader)
Durability and ease of cleaning are essential to the team, whose time is focused on rescues and training rather than cleaning! They have found maintenance of the all terrain vehicles much easier to work on now the Ecotile flooring has been fitted, as it takes pressure off knee
Joints and standing and kneeling on cold concrete are a distant memory!
The PVC floor is now much easier to clean up after tyre and oil changes. Vehicles stored in the unit means winter de-frosting can be done easily inside and water pooling is no longer an issue, as the non-slip textured surface of the flooring, prevents accidents and mud and liquids are easily removed with a squeegee mop.
“The new Ecotile flooring has really allowed us to create a perfect multi-purpose space. It provides a hard-wearing cleanable vehicle maintenance and storage area, which can at a moment’s notice be used as a warm comfortable training space for the team.” – Neil Carruthers (Team Leader)
Border Collie, Griff is the team’s operational search dog while, Springer Spaniel, Geoffrey and Border Collie, Isla are trainees and being the team’s trusted canines, they return wet and very muddy into the unit, along with drenched vehicles and up to 30 plus pairs of muddy walking boots, after each training session or search. Ecotile’s interlocking PVC flooring has its durability tested here, due to copious amounts of mud and water and therefore the non-slip surface is a big factor for the team, preventing slips and accidents.
Training at the unit typically covers a variety of different topics, including communications testing, search techniques, rope work, rescue recovery and first aid, simulating a number of various real life scenarios. Buxton MRT became the first Mountain Rescue England and Wales team to be granted approval by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for the use of drones. The approval enables the rescue team to be able to use the drones to search for missing persons in places where access is difficult, or unsafe for team members.
The drones allow the team to search areas such as boulder fields, water margins, moorlands, crags and difficult ground. Drone technology complements other search resources, such as team members on the ground and the search dogs, all of which have an important part to contribute in search operations. Returning to a warm, dry base after this type of search and rescue is essential to the team’s welfare and the interlocking Ecotile flooring is warmer underfoot than concrete and eases the pressure on tired cold limbs after a challenging rescue.
James Gedye CEO of Ecotile said, “Whoever has been fortunate enough to be rescued by Buxton Mountain Rescue Team, are no doubt extremely relieved and grateful to the volunteers, who give their time and energy in searching for and rescuing the public from all manner of precarious situations. It’s therefore rewarding for Ecotile to donate our PVC flooring, to such a worthwhile charity knowing it is helping their cause. None of us know, when one of our own family may need the assistance of a Mountain Rescue Team somewhere in the U.K.”