Review of Rescues in 2015 & Over the Past 12 Years

2015 was the third busiest on record for the team with 119 ‘999’ calls received of which 74 led to some response on the fell. This is despite taking a relatively conservative approach to logging incidents around the flooding events in November and December. This review considers the 2015 statistics, both for the year as a whole and in the wider context of the past 12 years. In total 1237 incidents are included in the analysis. The presentation of data and definitions used is the same as that used in previous reviews published on the team website. These are repeated at the end of this article.
The graph above shows that since 2007 the team have regularly been dealing with around 100 incidents a year, with a peak at 133 in 2009. 2015 saw an increase in both Full Callouts and Alerts. Limited calls have reduced slightly over the past few years.

Types of Incident

The PIE chart below shows a breakdown of the 2015 incidents by type. The most common reason for a 999 call to the team in 2015 was being lost, representing 32 % of calls, followed by injured / medical at 28 %. Over 12 years the proportion of injuries is 31 % and this remains relatively constant. The long term proportion of Losts is 28 %. The graph suggests this may be slowly increasing over time. The ‘Others’ show a decrease as a proportion of total calls in 2015. As noted above, only 1 incident was logged for each of the flood stats2

Callouts by Month & Time of Day

The plots below show the breakdown of calls by month of the year for 2015 and for the past 12 years as a whole.
The breakdown of calls by time of day is shown below, both for 2015 and the past 12 years as a whole. The x-axis is the highest value of each data ‘bin’, ie : 13:00 is all times from 12:01 – 13:00 and so on.


Reviewing the longer term trends over the past 12 years the team is normally quiet between the end of October (1/2 term) and Easter. In the summer period two months stand out, June and August as being busier than most. The obvious explanations for this being 3 peaks (June) and Summer Holidays (August). It is notable that it is Overdues and Losts which drive these increases, the proportion of injuries is relatively flat across the summer period. In contrast to this, injuries proved to be the most common type of call during both June and August 2015.
Over the years a consistent picture has emerged in terms of when particular types of incident occur. Most injuries / medical problems occur between 14:00 – 18:00 and 72 % of these incidents have occurred between 12:00 – 18:00. The Losts generally phone in between 15:00 – 21:00 (62 %), whilst Overdues tend to be reported later, between 18:00 – 00:00.

At one stage of the year Alerts were a much higher proportion of the total calls than normal. Over the year this has evened out and the increase in Alerts in 2015 is reflective of the total.
Earlier in the year the media ran a number of stories about increases in mountain rescue calls due to walkers placing more reliance on electronic gadgets rather than map and compass. Over the past 12 years there is some evidence that Losts are increasing as a proportion of the total workload, whilst potentially Overdues are slightly reducing. As both categories are most likely to result from some form of navigational problem a check was made as to whether the sum total remains similar over the years, which is shown below.
Whilst far from rigorous the sum of Losts and Overdues remains relatively constant over the past 12 years varying just above the 50 % mark. If there is any upward trend it is slight.

Previous Review Articles

Definitions Used in this Article

Full Callout
All available team members are asked to turnout
Limited Callout
The callout message makes it clear only a small number, 5 – 6 people are needed to resolve the incident
The team are paged by the calling authority. The team leader and potentially others make enquiries by phone, car parks/pubs may be checked, but there is no response on the fell.
Injured & Medical
The main reason for the call is an injury or medical problem.
Someone on the fell reports them / party, usually by mobile phone to be lost and in need of assistance getting off the fell. It is different from cragfast in that it is navigation which is the challenge.
Person / party is stuck and cannot make further progress due to the difficulty of the ground, eg : it is steep and craggy. In this case they may know where they are but cannot move. It also includes people stuck on the Wasdale Screes.
Includes non-mountain incidents such as cars stuck on Hardknott Pass, flooding, urban searches etc. Also includes false alarms with good intent.

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