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2nd August 2017
Teesdale and Weardale Search and Mountain Rescue Team is a charity created after an accident in Teesdale in 1968 “to relieve suffering and distress amongst persons endangered by accidents and natural hazards” (however this includes animals in distress too) and now has about 30 volunteers, who are on call 24/7. The Team covers County Durham and Darlington from the North Pennines to the North Sea and from River Tees to River Tyne making it one of the biggest areas covered by a mountain rescue team in the country. The team provides technical rescues for casualties in difficult to access and remote locations (including swift water, crags, caves and mines).
We normally respond to about 50 shouts a year and they can include anything from rescuing walkers (or their dogs!) fallen down a mine shaft in Weardale or a crag-fast sheep in Teesdale, rescue of a kayaker from River Tees, searches for people in or around rivers to a search for a missing DofE, scouts or army cadets group somewhere between High Cup Nick and Cow Green or a vulnerable person in Castle Eden Dene. Call outs concerning missing people have significantly increased over the last few years. A list of recent and historic calls provides a good gist of what we usually deal with: https://www.twsmrt.org.uk/callouts.php
In order to provide better response to constantly growing requests for searches for missing people in the northern and eastern parts of the county, we moved some of our assets from Barnard Castle to a new base in Durham, therefore we can now operate from both locations, which makes a great difference considering the size of the area we cover.
The Team has the capacity to deal with various contingencies in support of other emergency services. We provide rapid medical cover for snowed off and remote areas, and also assist in rescuing people from flooded houses whether it is in County Durham or anywhere else in the country.
In order to keep our skills fresh we spend a lot of time training. Our usual training sessions are every fortnight and once a month we have a bigger exercise in remote areas often spanning over a whole weekend. It is quite a commitment to be an active Team member. As we are totally dependent on donations in order to operate, we take part in various fundraising and publicity events. We provide talks on hill and river safety. Team often provides medical covers for various sports events across the County and beyond. All this on top of our daily jobs and other commitments we all have in our lives. We certainly are very busy people!
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