17 - May - 2017
from Hannes Heigenhauser

Green in case of an emergency

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Melanie, Angelika, Christine and Anna-Katharina are always in action. 24 hours a day, seven days a week, on Sundays and public holidays. Their little black pagers, which they carry at all times, are a constant reminder of this since they have been trained as mountain rescuers for Lech Mountain Rescue.

If the pager beeps, it’s time to get a move on…

… For no matter whether it’s summer or winter, this is a signal that someone is in danger. ”But hurrying doesn‘t mean it’s time to panic,“ says Melanie. The mountain rescuer is also an alpine instructor and trains other rescue workers. She knows that it is mainly the calm ones, who turn out to be very good mountain rescuers. The fact that something can happen during a holiday is a scenario that guests like to fondly dismiss. Not that people behave recklessly, but you would rather not think about the fact that the mountain rescue may need to be called out for you. Knowing that they exist, on the other hand, is a very comforting feeling.

For the citizens of Lech and Zurs the mountain rescue is, like many other institutions, part of the ”support network“ that has to function to guarantee guests a relaxing and stress-free vacation. Whether you are local slope workers, hoteliers, chefs, doctors, ski instructors, hiking guides or even mountain rescuers, Lech Zürs would not be the sought-after holiday destination, without the commitment and commitment of many local people.

Regular training….

… For the four ladies from the mountain rescue, this means, among other things, participating in a rescue exercise every  first Saturday of the month, in which all possible scenarios are acted out. 

What needs to be done when there‘s an avalanche? How do I abseil people down from a cable car? How do I find traces of a missing hiker? 

The training entailed to become a mountain rescuer is relatively short and consists of different courses spread out over a year. But the fact that the new trainees are taken to scenes straight away means that they pick up the necessary routines really fast. ”You can usually use every helping hand,“ says Anna-Katharina. Do women have a hard time in an allegedly male domain? No, says Christine. Everyone  finds his or her role really quickly. This is not about being a man or a woman, but about the talents of each individual rescuer. Strong nerves are part of the job for everyone, because rescue activities can be extremely stressful despite all experience, especially when it comes down to life and death. ”You have to develop a healthy distance,“ says Christine. ”Even if it doesn‘t rule out that certain situations run very deep.“

Be prepared for everything…

… In order to provide optimal assistance, the Lech mountain rescue is equipped with the best gear available. ”We are well-known for that,“ Melanie smiles. ”We‘ve also granted ourselves an exception in clothing regulations. Most mountain rescuers are actually dressed in red, only here in Lech Zürs do we wear green clothing.“ And the mountain rescuers slip into these when the pager sends the next emergency call. As volunteers, they then – if at all possible – leave their families and jobs in the care of others, and put all their efforts into working hard in the mountains to end the mission successfully.

Emergency number 144

Lech Mountain Rescue has already had women working for them for 15 years. Currently there are four of them among 30 men. All of the team members work voluntarily, as prerequisites they need to bring with them physical  fitness, an affinity to mountain life and an interest in technology. The mountain rescue has an average of about 30 assignments per year.

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