Galway Mountain Rescue Team Profile
The Galway Mountain Rescue Team is a voluntary organisation providing a 112/999 emergency response service to the upland and remote areas of counties Galway and Clare. Our service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Galway MRT is a registered charity in Ireland.
Our team comprises of over 30 active volunteer members, who dedicate their time and energy to the service of their fellow mountain users (from Ireland and further afield). Our skill-set focuses on the provision of the following emergency response services:
- Casualty Care
- Rope Rescue
- Search Management
- Search & Rescue (SAR) operations
Our team membership is diverse. We have both male and female volunteers who range in age from 24 to 66, and live right across our area of operations, from Letterfrack in North-West Connemara to the Burren in County Clare. While our team members come from all walks of life, from farming to engineering to teaching, they all are dedicated to helping others in need. This desire to help others is at the very core of what we do and what we expect from each other.
Galway MRT acknowledges the vital role that the families, friends and employers of each team member play in enabling our volunteers to provide an effective emergency response service. Without their support (and often times, sacrifice), Galway MRT would be unable to operate effectively.
Who we work with
Mountain Rescue Teams
As a proud member of Mountain Rescue Ireland (MRI), the representative body for the 11 mountain rescue teams operating in Ireland and Northern Ireland, Galway MRT has a close working relationship with each of these volunteer-based emergency response teams. Galway MRT cooperates with each of these teams on a wide range of operations throughout the year. While some of these operations are prescheduled to occur each year (e.g. the provision of rescue support to Mayo Mountain Rescue for the 30,000 pilgrims that visit Croagh Patrick on Reek Sunday), others occur on a more ad-hoc basis (e.g. the provision of SAR support to teams involved in large-scale or prolonged emergency operations).
Over its 40+ year history, Galway MRT has built strong relationships with many mountain rescue teams based abroad, such as the Olympic Mountain Rescue Team based in Washington state, USA, and a number of Mountain Rescue Teams based in the UK.
Ireland’s Ambulance Services, which include the HSE National Ambulance Service, Order of Malta Ireland and the Irish Red Cross, are an integral part of the pre-hospital care delivery system in Ireland. More often than not, they are the next link in the chain for casualties evacuated from the mountainside by Galway MRT who require some form of definitive medical care. Galway MRT works closely with the local ambulance services within our area of operations, from Clifden to Galway city.
Coillte owns over 445,000 hectares of land in Ireland, about 7% of the total land cover of the country, most of which is forested. With many Coillte forests located in the West of Ireland, Galway MRT regularly coordinates with Coillte staff during operations at these locations. Coillte provides logistical support to the team in the form of mapping of Coillte owned forest and help with access issues.
National Parks & Wildlife Service
With two or Ireland’s six national parks located within our area of operations (Connemara National Park and the Burren National Park), Galway MRT regularly coordinates with NPWS staff during operations at these locations.
An Garda Síochána
The tasking agency for mountain rescue in Ireland is An Garda Síochána. When a person dials 112 or 999 and requests help from mountain rescue, their call is routed through the local Garda command and control centre and the Gardaí will then notify the appropriate Mountain rescue team that covers the area to respond. The Gardaí provide logistical support and, if required, Garda personnel on the ground to assist with the running of our operations. The local Gardaí will appoint a member to liaise with Galway MRT’s base coordinators.
Irish Coast Guard
Galway MRT works closely with the Irish Coast Guard. Given the proximity of our area of operations to the Coast Guard’s two SAR bases on the Western seaboard (Sligo and Shannon Airport), we work closest with the crews based at these locations. Galway MRT recently completed intensive training with the crew of the Sikorsky S92 based at Shannon Airport, call-sign Rescue 115. Galway MRT volunteers were recently trained in how to interact with the helicopter during an emergency situation and shown the on-board rescue technology, which included infra-red and low-light cameras, a satellite communications system and high-speed dual hoists.
Civil Defence is an organisation comprising of approximately 6000 members who voluntarily make themselves available in their spare time. In prolonged searches, the civil defence provides Galway MRT with the use of their resources to assist with the operation. The civil defence play a major supporting role to the team with trained search managers, trained searchers and transport logistics.
Irish Air Corps
The Air Corps is the air component of the Permanent Defence Forces, based at Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel, Co. Dublin. The Air Corps currently operates 17 fixed wing aircraft and 10 rotary wing aircraft. Utilising these assets, the Air Corps are available to provide GMRT with aerial support in searches, casualty evacuations and personnel and equipment transportation into the mountains. Galway MRT volunteers were recently trained in how to interact with the Air Corps’ helicopters during emergency situations.