Dealing with emergencies

Produced by the British Red Cross for the Ramblers

When dealing with an emergency it is important to try and remain calm and look out for any dangers to yourself, the injured walker and the remainder of the group. There are three conditions that immediately threaten life:

  • Breathing problems
  • Heart problems
  • Serious bleeding

If there is more than one injured person, go to the quiet one first, they may be unresponsive and need immediate attention.

You can learn how to respond to these first aid emergencies by downloading the Red Cross First Aid app.

Summoning help

Use a mobile phone to call 999 (or 112) and ask for an ambulance and/or mountain rescue as appropriate. Send others (two recommended) for help if there is no mobile signal. Remember, even if your mobile phone has no signal make the call to the emergency services as other networks may transmit the call. If needed, the emergency distress signal is six successive whistle blasts or torch flares.

When calling the emergency services remember:

  • Stay calm
  • Describe the nature of the emergency
  • State the location accurately
  • Answer any questions clearly
  • Be patient – your call will be prioritised and handled as quickly as possible

When the situation is under control

Ensure the casualty is kept warm, dry and comfortable as far as practical. Do not forget about the rest of the group as they need looking after too. Think about the arrival of the emergency services and plan accordingly.