Walkers are being asked to rescue themselves if they have an accident in the Kerry mountains.
Kerry Mountain Rescue Team has announced a range of restrictions because of coronavirus and the "high volumes of people observed on the Kerry mountains over the last weekend."
If a walker is seriously injured, or not able to get off a hill unaided, it will attend with the absolute minimum of members as "by its very nature, mountain rescue requires close contact between both rescuers and casualty, exposing everyone to the risk of infection."
Helicopter support will only be called if there is a critical injury.
"When calling out the Team to an incident, our first priority has to be the safety of Team members and their families. We are all volunteers, many of whom live with and care for 'vulnerable' people at home and in our working lives," Kerry Mountain Rescue Team said in a statement.
The measures announced include:
- If you are uninjured, lost or benighted, you will be asked to consider waiting until morning, and/or better visibility to extricate yourself.
- If you are 'walking wounded' you will be asked to consider extricating yourself from the mountain.
- If you are seriously injured, and/or not physically able to get yourself off the hill, we will attend with the absolute minimum of team members needed to complete the task. Because of this, the evacuation will be less straightforward and the overall time to transport you to medical attention will be much longer.
"While contrary to everything Kerry Mountain Rescue believe in, these measures are necessary to protect Team members and their families at this time.
"Covid-19 is a very serious threat and it’s time everyone faced up to their responsibilities in order to limit the spread of the virus. Government guidelines have been very clear about physical distancing and many people have chosen to ignore this, putting everyone at risk."
- The HSE have developed an information pack on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Read it here
- Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus who has been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days should isolate themselves from other people - this means going into a different, well-ventilated room alone, with a phone; phone their GP, or emergency department;
- GPs Out of Hours services are not in a position to order testing for patients with normal cold and flu-like symptoms. HSELive is an information line and similarly not in a position to order testing for members of the public. The public is asked to reserve 112/999 for medical emergencies at all times.
- ALONE has launched a national support line and additional supports for older people who have concerns or are facing difficulties relating to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Ireland. The support line will be open seven days a week, 8am-8pm, by calling 0818 222 024