As part of the Society's community initiatives, we are delighted to welcome to Dens on Tuesday evening, Tayside Mountain Rescue, a local service which relies heavily on the support of our communities within Tayside to provide its service funding.
Tayside Mountain Rescue is one of 28 mountain rescue teams in Scotland, providing a land based search and rescue service and is a registered charity, providing a 24/7 service 365 days per year to help those in need. This service is provided by a dedicated team of volunteers who work closely with rescue agency partners: Tayside Police Search and Rescue Unit; RAF Search & Rescue; Scottish Ambulance Service; Tayside Fire & Rescue Service.
Providing such a service is reflected in the intense training needed for the volunteers to carry out the job safely and efficiently. They deal with anything from medical and trauma emergencies in remote settings in Tayside, all in a difficult environment. Fundraising is vital and ongoing and will help to equip the team to deal with inclement weather and provide them with the specialised transportation. Yearly operating cost to keep this much valued service moving forward is around £40,000.
One such volunteer, Paul Russell, spoke to us on behalf of Tayside Mountain Rescue in advance of their visit to Dens Park and we found out exactly what he and many other amazing people give up their time to do.
Tell us a bit about your role...
"I'm the Equipment Officer for the team, so I'm in charge of procuring team member and team rescue equipment for all rescue situations; this includes rock, ice and water related incidents. I also need to ensure that all equipment is up to date with current legislation requirements i.e. suitable for the job and provide relevant training in its use.
What message would you want to get across to the fans?
"We are a voluntary emergency service, Tayside MRT was established in 1976, we are getting a lot busier every year. Last year we had a record number of callouts which was 60, and already this year we've had 4 in the space of 4 days. We survive on public contributions - and although we get some money from the Scottish government we still have a massive shortfall we need to find every year to protect this vital public service."
What do you need the money for?
"Technical, Medical, team member safety equipment, training and vehicles. Many of our team members are trained to a high medical standard. We have around 30 training events per year and attend national MR training courses too.
How can our fans help?
"Donating a small amount of money goes along way and will help to sustain this much valued service in Tayside. Fans can donate via our website (click "just giving"). Additionally we have a Facebook page which you can ‘Like’ and follow the work of the team and again make donations. We also have TMRT wrist bands available for any donation amount you wish to give. Remember TMRT help to serve all users of the outdoors in Tayside, including our young mountaineers and tourists who visit our amazing lowlands and highlands of Tayside."
How much of your spare time do you spend volunteering?
"I spend a lot of time on it... at least 2 days per week and that time excludes our callouts to emergencies. It really varies depending on how many callouts we receive. In Mountain Rescue you really must have a good employer who is willing to support this vital service. You need to have a very understanding family too, because the reality is you might get called away from your Christmas lunch."
How important is what you do?
"We serve the public and assist people in need 24/7 – all charities are important, they all need money to survive... if you do not have a specialised MR team who else would do it! The public of Tayside need a dedicated professional MR team. Tayside MRT have provided this service for nearly forty years; we have genuinely saved thousands of lives.
If we only save one life our service is worth supporting and having."