Kerry Mountain Rescue Team (KMRT), who responded to 38 callouts and assisted 49 different people last year, plan to use drone technology for future search and rescue operations.

A new report issued by KMRT details the efforts the 35 volunteer members dealt with in 2019, and highlighted some of the future plans of the organisation.

“Approximately half of these occurred over the busy summer months,” KMRT PRO Colm Burke, said. “The callout profile has ranged widely, from fall injuries and medical assistance to casualty location and recovery operations. The majority of the callouts have occurred in the McGillycuddy’s Reeks with a number of callouts on the Beara and Dingle Peninsulas also.”

In total the team spent 4,300 operational hours on the mountains last year including 2,000 rescue hours. The other 2,300 hours were spent training.

“Team training hours have increased in the past 12 months with the addition of new training modules on drone operation and 4×4 driving techniques, along with regular training in the core competencies of first aid, casualty care and evacuation, technical ropework, navigation and radio communications. 2019 also saw the team involved in a number of inter-agency training operations and emergency simulations on Skellig Michael,” he added.

Unfortunately two people lost their lives on Kerry mountains last year and that has prompted KMRT to issue a warning ahead of the busy winter climbing season.

“With the short winter days, cold weather and dark skies, it’s more important than ever to plan ahead to ensure you stay safe out on the mountains,” Colm said. “As the winter sets in, there are a few key safety considerations for those heading into the mountains. Make sure you start your walk or climb early enough in the day; be aware of what time it gets dark and allow for rapid changes in the weather too. Plan your day and route taking into consideration a reliable mountain weather forecast. Leave a route plan with a responsible person. Don’t forget to keep an eye on the weather during the day. Always be prepared to turn back or take a shorter route. The mountains will still be there another day.”