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Joining an MRT. Quals, experience, etc?

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 Harrie 25 Jun 2020

Hi all,

I will soon be moving to an area where becoming a volunteer for the local MRT is feasible. It is something I've wanted to do for a number of years, but my location and job commitments have previously made it impossible. 

I am curious about the quals, experience, or other requirements that are generally expected of a new member? Can anybody provide any insight please?

For info, I believe the closest MRT to where I will be moving would either be Edale or Glossop. 

Cheers,
Harrie

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In reply to Harrie:

The team's respective websites will have information. Time commitment is the big challenge, everything else can be taught/learnt. 

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 leon 1 25 Jun 2020
In reply to Harrie: As Stuart says contact them they're always keen on new helpers.  Edale- Glossop or in between there's also Kinder MRT based in Hayfield

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 Harrie 25 Jun 2020
In reply to Stuart (aka brt):

Thanks for this Stuart. Having looked at their websites, the requirements seem fairly similar. 

From what you know, what sort of time commitment is to be expected during and after training?

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 DerwentDiluted 25 Jun 2020
In reply to Harrie:

I'd suggest the following to think about, after not far off 15 years on Edale, left about 3 years ago as I could no longer give it the time it needed.

You need to be physically fit and pretty robust. You won't use paths, you'll be x-country carrying a load a lot. Age, shape, build are immaterial, you need physical fitness and a resilient mindset. Carrying a stretcher over rough terrain is a special kind of torture, you can not drop it.

Basic rope skills are handy, proficiency in basic knots will be handy. Teams use special rescue rigs and equipment and this will be trained into you. Competence and comfort on steep ground are far more useful than climbing ability.

Navigation. Think ML level. MR use 8 figure grid refs as standard. You will need this level of accuracy in all weathers and visibilities without tech. It is one of the key pre-requisite selection criteria. 

Local knowledge, not essential in any way, but handy. Own transport essential. 

First aid, a good level is useful. FA at work is a good starter. Most operational team members will have the MRC casualty care certificate which will occupy a lot of your training time. Watch the Brave Dave vid. You remember the bit where the MR guy arrived and 'the cavalry are here'? That's you that is. And its fooking scary being first onto a nasty, red jacket or no red jacket. Because it is you thats going to make it all right, and there is no cavalry for the cavalry. Be prepared for dealing with some upsetting and distressing events. There is excellent training and support, but some things will stay with you.

Training will take up to 2 years and cover all aspects from radio proceedures and driving to working with helicopters and fatal incident & Scene Of Crime protocols. Lots of things you might not think of. It will take up most of your time in that period. Your own climbing etc will likely nose dive for those years.  If you have a young family or demanding job then think hard on this. Drop out rates for aspirants are high. The commitment is greatly underestimated. Once qualified life gets easier.  

In addition to training you will also be expected/encouraged/want to pitch in with equipment maintainence and cleaning (the glamour!), fundraising and a load of extras - demos for scouts, dogsbodying for SARDA and a load of other things. 

So in summary it is pretty much a way of life. It will put strain on your relationships and it costs a fortune in fuel, batteries and wear and tear on gear. A partner who has saintly levels of understanding and patience is a must, an understanding boss is also very handy. If you can't actually leave work there will be days where you turn in having been out all night. It will shred your body and your waterproof trousers. You will spend too much time in car parks waiting, doing nothing you will get out of bed at 3.00am and get stood down as you arrive. In spite of many online comments otherwise, nobody buys you a pint down the pub, because you are not a hero or a legend or anything else like that. The notion that you are is laughable. Its just something that you do because you can.

Good luck with your application. 

Christ, I miss it. 

Post edited at 11:35
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In reply to Harrie:

Derwent has said it all very well. I've not been involved for a long time now. Haven't the time...

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 Graeme G 25 Jun 2020
In reply to Harrie:

If my MRT mates are anything to go buy you just need to have a pulse.

Good luck, it’s a worthy cause and you’ll learn loads.

Post edited at 11:44
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 Harrie 25 Jun 2020
In reply to DerwentDiluted:

Cheers for this, it is an invaluable insight. I'm not a stranger to carrying substantial weight over rough terrain, either day or night. I check the navigation box too, so that is reassuring. 

With reference to your points on training, I think now is the right time to get that done, before starting a family and while I've got a good employer who doesn't mind me working from home etc. The extras that you mentioned sound part of the fun, to be honest. Maybe I'll think differently when the time comes to do them, will get back to you ;) 

I really appreciate you taking the time to provide such detailed insight. Thank you for your 15 years of work with the Edale team. 

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 Jenny C 25 Jun 2020
In reply to Harrie:

There are several teams in the area and whilst Edale do a fantastic job some of the less well known ones arguably have a greater need for volunteers or supporters

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 greg_may_ 25 Jun 2020
In reply to Harrie:

Everything DerwentDiluted said. Especially the standing around in carparks waiting. You get very good at that. You'll also end up moving into position exceptionally rapidly, sweating, carrying a heavy load - and then be expected to stop while the cas is dealt with - it'll be up to you do deal with being uncomfortable as well as sorting out your team mates. In all weathers. Whenever. 

Your nav needs to be dialed. We expect this on application to the team - we don't teach it, we refresh it constantly. I'm ML standard nav, orienteer, and fell runner - I still work on my nav constantly for callouts. Technology is slow and it fails. A map and compass as well as local knowledge is significantly faster.

You'll see a lot of crap things. You'll have support to deal with that. 

You'll do a lot of good things. For the most part, only you and your team will know about it.

You'll trash kit, waste fuel, lose sleep, and if you're like me -end up teaching for a full day after 30mins kip in your car in a layby near school. Coffee helps.

Sometimes, you get to play in a helicopter.

It can be both the worst and best thing within 5 minutes during a job - both ways. You need to prepare for that.

But, you get to help people who need it using your skillset. 

I'm happy to be in MR, I'll be doing it until I can't.

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