Mountain Rescue England and Wales (MREW) consists of 47 voluntary teams spread across eight geographical regions in England and Wales. The teams are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, providing free emergency assistance to those who require it. However, effective response requires technology that’s capable of performing in a wide range of challenging environments, from mountains and caves, to rivers and city centres.
MREW identified Getac’s F110 fully rugged tablet and T800 fully rugged tablet as two devices that met its specific needs. Not only do both devices feature powerful processing and communication capabilities, but their fully rugged build quality means rescue teams can take them into the field with confidence, knowing that they are up to the task at hand.
With the devices in place, teams involved in the trial have been able to significantly expand their use of technology during rescue operations. In addition to using digital mapping provided by Ordnance Survey, the devices can also be used as mobile command posts in the field, while they wait for dedicated command vehicles to arrive. MREW anticipates an expansion in teams’ use of drones in the near future, with Getac’s devices having the potential to serve as robust control units.
MREW consists of 47 voluntary teams spread across eight geographical areas in the UK – The Lake District, Mid Pennine, Northeast, Peak District, Peninsula, Yorkshire Dales, North Wales and South Wales. The charitable organisation – which is completely reliant on public donations – aims to provide and maintain the highest standards in casualty care, technical rope rescue and swift water rescue to anyone who needs it, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
“In 2022, there were just four days when the diverse services of our rescue teams weren’t required,” says Mark Lewis, ICT Director, MREW. “Operations we carried out included recovering climbers from precipitous crags, reuniting lost walkers with their friends, searching for missing children and vulnerable adults, aiding flood victims, and ensuring injured casualties were safely delivered into vital hospital care.”
In order to operate effectively, rescue teams require IT equipment that they can rely on in a wide range of challenging situations, locations, and weather conditions. Whether operating on high mountain peaks or flooded rivers, having the ability to communicate in real-time, share information, and seamlessly coordinate rescue efforts can make the difference between success or failure.
Previously, the organisation relied on a wide variety of consumer-grade devices, many of which were owned by the volunteers themselves. However, the organisation knew a more fit-for-purpose rugged solution would have a positive impact on its teams’ ability to respond to victims in need and ultimately, save lives.
MREW identified Getac’s F110 fully rugged tablet and T800 fully rugged tablet as two devices that met its specific needs. Featuring a powerful quad-core Intel® Core™ processor the F110 delivers extraordinary performance and effortless multitasking, while comprehensive connectivity options, including Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, and 4G LTE/GPS ensures fast data transfer and communication.
Elsewhere, the F110 features an 11.6-inch LumiBond 2.0 touchscreen with up to 1000 nits of brightness, offering excellent readability in various conditions, even bright sunlight. Like all Getac devices, the F110 is also built rugged from the ground up to thrive in difficult working conditions, like those found in emergency rescue situations. MIL-STD-810H and MIL-STD-461G certifications ensure exceptional reliability, while the device’s IP66 rating means it offers protection against dust and water.
The Getac T800 fully rugged tablet combines powerful functionality, reliability, and connectivity with the mobility of a tablet, meaning rescue teams can take it wherever they need to go.
A powerful quad-core Intel® Atom™ processor and 4G LTE, Wi-Fi & GPS connectivity options enable data to be gathered and transmitted straight from the scene of a rescue, while up to 10 hours battery life on a single charge offers full shift reliability. Elsewhere, an 8.1-inch sunlight readable display allows teams to perform crucial data gathering and communication tasks quickly and efficiently.
Like all Getac devices, the T800 was engineered to protect against drops, shocks, spills, vibration, dust, liquid and more. Certified to MIL-STD 810H and IP65 standards, it remains fully operational in temperatures ranging from -21°C to +50°C and is drop resistant up to six feet.
With the devices in place, MREW has been able to significantly expand its use of technology during rescue operations. A key benefit of having the F110 and T800 in the field is the ability to use a variety of digital mapping solutions, supplied by partner Ordnance Survey. This has given teams access to much more accurate mapping data, which greatly aids navigation and enables them to pinpoint the site of rescue calls faster than before.
The T800 can also be configured with tri- passthrough antenna ports allowing MREW to connect high-gain GPS, WWAN and WLAN roof-mounted antennas. This means it can be used inside emergency response vehicles as a portable command centre prior to the arrival of a dedicated command and control vehicle at the scene of an incident.
“Using Getac’s rugged solutions has had a huge impact on our technical capabilities in the field,” says Mark. “Not only are they much more capable than our previous devices, but their fully rugged build quality means team members can trust them to perform when it matters most, which is invaluable when lives are on the line.”
MREW National Drone Officer, Brendan O’Neil, is also trialing Getac’s devices to expand use of drones in the field, which will further aid rescue teams in both locating victims and scanning environments from the air for dangers.
“Pilots, as part of our drone team, have a number of activities to carry out prior, during and post flight,” says Brendan. “Having access to a rugged tablet allows the pilot to access up to date weather and airspace data in the field. Preflight risk assessments can also be recorded electronically for future use. While in flight, the tablet has been used to mirror the screen display from the drone controller, allowing an additional observer to monitor the footage and even stream it live to other parties. Post-flight image analysis can then be carried out on the tablet to provide extra confidence that an area has been cleared.”
Saving lives in the hills, mountains and moorlands of England and Wales, MREW’s volunteer team members deliver casualty care free of charge to those who need it and support their local communities in times of crisis, such as flooding.
The 47 volunteer mountain rescue teams, split across eight geographical regions, are entirely funded by donations from the public.