I’m a member of the Austrian mountain rescue forces and in my free time I’m working voluntarily as squat leader and deputy head of mountain rescue in the province of Styria.
Mountain rescue means that if someone is injured on our mountains or in alpine terrain in general and if this person cannot be reached by an ambulance, one of our 53 local mountain rescue teams is informed by the Styrian National Warning Centre (Landeswarnzentrale Steiermark) and we start our rescue missions. Quite often we have to reach injured persons during challenging weather conditions per foot or on skies in winter, sometimes we also have the luxury of helicopter transports from one of the Austrian airborne rescue organizations with whom we closely collaborate. Once we reach the spot of the accident we provide first aid and medical treatment (as much as is possible under alpine condintions) and transport the injured persons to the closest meeting point with an ambulance as fast as possible.
Similar as in research mountain rescue is not a one-man or one-woman show, it is always a team effort and everyone brings in their skills and competences. Throughout Styria the accidents we have to deal with are quite diverse, they range from simple stumbling incidents, missing persons or internal medical issues over mountain bike, skiing and paragliding accidents to severe rock climbing injuries or snow avalanches. Every year we have roughly 2000 mountain accidents in Styria and we also do a lot of training and exercising. We also have special task forces like our search and rescue dogs or our canyoning team.
If you want to learn more or support our organization, check out our website or follow us on Facebook. You can also reach out to my local mountain rescue team in Graz and of course, if you get in trouble on one of our mountains, the mountain rescue emergency number is 140.