Learn Skills Emergency Equipment

Emergency Equipment


Whilst emergencies are a rare occurrence in the hills, there are a few pieces of equipment that can make a massive difference if they do happen.

First Aid Kit

If injury or illness happens in the hills, help may not always be close at hand. Having a first aid kit and understanding how to use it is an important skill to have and seeking out some basic first aid training can make a real difference.


Mountain rescue teams are often called to assist walkers off the hills who have simply got caught out after dark. Whether underestimating how long a walk will take, or getting lost and staying out for longer than planned, heading back home in the dark does not need to be a reason to panic if everyone has a torch (a headtorch is best). Always take a torch and make sure you also have spare batteries.

Bivi Bag and Group Shelter

Made from tough polythene, a bivi bag provides individual shelter in case of an emergency. They are effective and inexpensive but can help to keep you warm and protect you from the elements should anything happen. If you’re going out in a larger group, bringing along a group shelter could also be a good idea. Though more expensive than a bivi-bag, many people can fit in a group shelter with their warmth shared. Using a group shelter and bivvi bag together will help keep you warm and safe.

Mobile Phone

Mobile phones can make a real difference when needing to contact the emergency services, but should not be thought of as a ‘safety net’. Phones often lose signal in the hills and can easily become lost or damaged. It is a good idea to take one regardless but be aware of other places along your route where you might be able to get signal or access a landline. The Emergency SMS service can help you to call for help when signal is intermittent. Signing up is simple so make sure to do this before leaving for your walk. Find out more information at Emergency SMS.


A whistle is a great way to attract attention – the international distress signal is six blasts in quick succession, repeated after a one-minute interval. Flashing your torch in a similar manner will also be recognised as a distress signal.


Time flies when you’re having fun, so keep track of it. You’ll also need it if you time navigation legs.

First aid training

Although rare, sometimes more serious incidents involving people with serious injuries or illnesses do happen. Usually these people will not be able to walk back to safety and the main priority in the UK will be to keep them as safe, warm and stable as possible until help arrives. Undoubtedly the most useful thing to have in these situations is training in first aid and basic life support.

If you have never learned these skills, or were taught them many years ago, consider taking a course such as those taught by Rescue Emergency care or Wilderness Medical Training. You do not need to be an experienced doctor or nurse to carry out some of the basic procedures which will hugely improve the chances of a very sick patient before the emergency services can reach you – simple things like learning how to keep an unconscious person's airway open can mean the difference between life and death.

READ more about Outdoor First Aid Training

Emergency Packing For Hill Walking