Behind the scenes – Mountain Rescue trial with Safenetics

Led by partners SafeNetics and in collaboration with Swaledale Mountain Rescue team and the University of York Electronic Engineering department, Mobile Access North Yorkshire – a 5G Testbed and Trials DCMS project recently trialled how 5G could enhance the search and rescue teams work in a recent trial.

Using a team of volunteers from the Mountain Rescue team and a member of the Upper Wharfdale Search dog team, the demo, which was filmed by BBC Click and is available on Iplayer, focused on the end user benefits of the technology – which has been a key component of the MANY project throughout.


Kes - search dog
Starlink backhaul


Kes – a search dog from the Upper Wharfdale team – was fitted with a GPS tracker device. This allowed the team to track her locations back at base as she searched for a missing person. Using GPS enabled a check on areas that had been searched and – in normal circumstances – as one-dog tires another one can step in meaning the team are able to ensure they do not cover the same areas. This ensures teams can reliably map which areas have been searched.

A second trial explored the use of how medical sensors could support casualty rescues. Easily applied patch sensors can monitor a casualty’s heart rate, temperature, blood pressure, pulse oximetry and respirations rate in real time. Information gathered from devices at an incident site and streamed to Mountain Rescue control meant team members could assess patients at a far, as well as keeping emergency services or medical facility informed.   

A significant advantage of using these telemetry devices is that life signs can be monitored remotely, so that an external clinical professional could advise if any medical intervention is required. Normally, a casualty rescue team would have to pause regularly to check the casualty’s vital signs; with the sensors, this is not required so the rescue can proceed with greater speed. This may help save lives in the incidents that require speedy transfer to ambulance and onward to A&E.

The trial, which took place during Storm Eunice in Arkengarthdale, used a low cost, highly portable 5G cell and satellite connection to the Internet, which could be put in the back of a Mountain Rescue Landrover. This highlighted how the volunteer team, which rely entirely on public donations, could use the very latest mobile technology to the benefit of those in need.

Paul Denning, Chairman of the Swaledale Mountain Rescue team said ‘Working with MANY has given us the chance to understand how digital technology can develop our search and rescue leading to improving care to our casualties and enhancing our search capabilities’.

To find out more or demo the equipment, visit our stand at the 5G Showcase event on the 22nd and 23rd March in Birmingham.