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Walkers At Risk - Support Ramblers' Campaign

The Ramblers has launched a 999 Campaign urging Ambulance Trusts across the country to ensure that they can pinpoint distressed walkers no matter where they are located. Recent Ramblers' research has uncovered situations where ambulances have been delayed because of a lack of software or training to interpret grid reference locations. In areas where postcodes do not give accurate locations, grid reference locations are essential in locating people in an emergency. Britain’s walking charity has had some worrying reports from Walk Leaders where volunteers have been unable to effectively communicate the location of the injured person, resulting in confusion and a delay in receiving emergency care. Evidence points to this being because the Ambulance Trust contacted could not understand the grid reference given as a location and requested a postcode, which is not always accurate or even possible. Karen Inkster, Ramblers Led Walks Officer, said, “When enjoying the outdoor environment I want to be sure that if an emergency occurs, that an ambulance crew can find me, even if the location I provide is in the form of an OS grid reference. Using a ‘postcode lottery’ to track down an injured walker is not something the Department of Health should condone.” The Ramblers hope this campaign will initiate a change in procedure and ensure that walkers and other outdoor enthusiasts benefit from a swift deployment of the emergency service when providing a grid reference as the location of incident. The Ramblers calls for: • All Ambulance Trusts to take responsibility for rural incident responses by ensuring they have adequate software and offer comprehensive training to control room staff to interpret grid references to ensure all countryside users are within their reach. • The Department of Health to produce a 'best practice' guidance document which should be distributed to all Ambulance Trusts encouraging them to ensure that the software they use to process calls can handle grid reference locations and also that all staff receive on-going training on how to input these types of location. Sign up to the campaign by sending a letter to The Department of Health; visit the Ramblers 999 Campaign page for further information. Photo: Windermere and the Langdale Pikes from Orrest Head viewpoint. Credit: CTB/Dave Willis

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