What to do in an Emergency

Of course we hope that you won’t encounter an emergency, but proper preparation will certainly help avoid that.

But accidents can and do happen, even to the best prepared walkers who climb Scafell Pike.

Here’s a short list of the most important things to remember in an emergency:

First things first…

Before you set off, let someone (your hotel, family, etc) know your plans, especially the approximate route and the time you expect to be back. Travelling in a small group for novice hikers is usually a better idea in case of a member of the party getting injured, which might require you to split up.

If you get lost…

  1. Don’t panic. Stop, sit down, wrap up warm, have a snack and a drink; then get out the map and compass, and take your time thinking calmly and logically about where you may have gone wrong. Can you retrace your steps back to the last point where you knew where you were?
  2. Look around you for landmarks or features which could help pinpoint where you are on the map.
  3. If fellow walkers come along, swallow your pride and don’t be afraid to ask for advice.
  4. Using the map, try to devise a logical and safe plan; such as “we know we were travelling roughly south towards the summit, so if we carefully walk north, we should soon reach a point we recognise.”
  5. If none of these works for you, and especially if daylight is running short, then it’s time to call for help. Call 999 and ask for the police. Be ready to tell them what route you were taking, and your last known location.

If there’s an injury…

  1. First of all, make sure everyone else is safe and calm.
  2. Attend to the casualty, following the ‘ABCDE Plan’. That stands for Airway, Breathing, Circulation, Deformities, Exposure. If you climb Scafell Pike, it’s essential that you have a reasonable basic knowledge of first aid. The St John’s Ambulance service offer excellent training courses, books, and even apps, all of which you can find on their website.
  3. Think calmly. How bad is the injury? How good are your first aid skills? How confident are you that you can get them safely off the mountain? If you feel you can manage the situation without outside help, then do it.
  4. If you decide the situation is too serious to manage without professional assistance, then call 999 and ask for Mountain Rescue.
  5. If there’s no phone signal, and if numbers in your party allow, then leave at least one person with the casualty and send one or two people to get help.

Please visit the Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team website (particularly their advicesection) for information on how to prepare for your trip.