STANDING TALL, these are the courageous, unassuming men and woman who could be our community’s life-savers this Winter.
Last year, between January 1 and December 19, Oldham Mountain Rescue Team dealt with seventy-six incidents on behalf of or in conjunction with the three emergency services.
They included searches for missing people, suicides, a variety of slips and falls, assisting with 50 elderly passengers on a coach stranded in snow, a man trapped by a fallen tree and the search for the body of missing April Jones in Machynlleth.
And now they are making ready for ‘The next Shout’ – the term used when they are alerted to attend an emergency.
Nationally, the public donates 98 per cent of the funds needed by the nation’s 50-plus mountain rescue teams that loyally serve us twenty four hours, seven days a week.
Although Government sources contribute two per cent, running expenses for our team, for example, cost up to £30,000 each year.
Consequently, they rely heavily on public donations to meet running expenses with fund-raising uncertain in the current financial climate.
The ‘Friends of Oldham Mountain Rescue Team’ are individuals, groups and companies who support their vital work with a modest subscription rather than spending a wet and windy night on Saddleworth Moor.
The team owes a huge debt of gratitude to all the organisations who support their work through various forms of sponsorship.
OMRT was formed in 1964 along with the other teams that now comprise the Peak District Mountain Rescue Organisation.
They work with Greater Manchester Police, North West Ambulance Service and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service.
And besides obvious mountain rescue activities, the team is available as a back-up for ambulance and fire services during severe weather, major incident or where their specialist skills may be of value.
For example, the team helps police on search activities in areas and conditions where they may not have adequate resources or experience.
The team’s work is potentially hazardous and while they have an excellent safety record over 48 years, identification of potential risks and how they are managed are the group’s key responsibilities.
The team has a documented safety policy that is available to all team members.
And it is the 50 team members – dubbed The Heroes of the Snows by the Independent because of their remarkable efforts in the winter of 2009-10 – who are their most important resource.
Between December 18, 2009 and February 28, 2010, the team earned their title – Heroes of the Snows – dealt with 106 incidents mainly due to the prolonged period of snow.
They were frequently on standby round the clock assisting ambulance service with patients, helping stranded ambulances moving and helping police deal with blocked roads and marooned motorists.
Over the last 25 years OMRT has been in a unique position working alongside manufacturers in developing modern equipment and techniques which allow challenging rescues to be attempted efficiently with minimum risk to rescuers, casualties and equipment.
Further information about the team, recent news, photographs and how to contact them is on their website www.omrt.org and on Facebook. OMRT is now a respected independent charity and a company limited by guarantee.