As Covid-19 restrictions continue to ease, more people are starting to travel around the country and participating in outdoor activities. While the latter is mostly a good thing, there are times when things go wrong, and often these situations rely on the assistance and expertise of volunteers like those in the South Eastern Mountain Rescue Association (SEMRA).
The organisation has made use of Land Rover vehicles for its work for 20 years, and it recently conducted its 500th rescue operation, using a Land Rover Discovery. SEMRA operates in the south-east of Ireland and covers one of the largest areas of any mountain rescue team in Ireland and the UK. It is a volunteer service and operates year-round in an area spanning from the Galtee, Knockmealdown, Comeragh and Blackstairs mountains.
The vehicle used by SEMRA began its operational life as a standard Land Rover Discovery, before receiving light modifications to further help it in the often severe conditions in which it sees use. Along with powerful emergency auxiliary lighting, the Discovery has a roof box loaded with all the crew will need. Additional interior lighting and rear stowage nets help the crew during callouts.
Huge boot space can accommodate a stretcher
Speaking about how SEMRA uses the Land Rover Discovery, Team Leader, Terry Brophy, said: There is no other service available to go up the mountains, but we have the skills, the training and the vehicles to do it. The great thing about the Discovery is that we can fit a stretcher in the back with the medic seated alongside. Land Rovers are synonymous with mountain rescue in the UK and Ireland and there's a reason for that - they are by far the best vehicles available."
Liz Brown, a SEMRA volunteer, said: "The weather can change in a heartbeat. What starts as a lovely day can turn into a whiteout in no time and that's when people get into trouble. But when people see Land Rover with Mountain Rescue, they know they are two things they can count on."
Land Rover has maintained a relationship with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) since 1954 when a specially adapted vehicle entered service in the Middle East serving as a mobile dispensary. More recently during the Coronavirus pandemic, Land Rover redeployed new Defender cars that were due to be used as part of the new model's launch to be used by the Red Cross to help administer aid.
If you want to know more about the Land Rover Discovery you can read our review here.