In between bouts of fixing configurations for a customer, I popped up to base with Mal last night to do some training. Ran through the rigging of a horizontal lower[1][2] followed by a raise[3] and practised it a few times as well as rigging up the back end of the system, something I’ve not had practice at for a while.

While at base we did have a debrief on all of this week’s callouts, including the last one at Clun Gwyn Falls. I have a lot more information now about the casualty, however I stopped and thought this morning about the information that I had.

In the course of our operations, we are regularly placed in a position where it is necessary for us to deal with sensitive and private information about individuals. For example, medical history and treatment, or the presence or lack of mental impairment for searches. Some time ago, we had a discussion in the team about personal blogs and the decision at the time was to let people self-censor. Now that’s a great responsibility, we’ve been given the power to do something very good, and equally something terribly bad. The responsibility, however lies with the individual. It brings to mind a welsh proverb – Ym mhob baich y mae cyfrifoldeb, which roughly translates as With every privilege comes responsibility.

So I pondered this morning about the information that I have. I can’t say why I stopped to think, because that would actually be publishing one of the relevant pieces of information, but I can say that one of the reasons is that the outcome of the medical attention he has and will receive is unknown at the moment. I was in a bit of a quandary, and so I called Mark to ask his advice as a friend, a person with experience of the media (he works for Auntie) and also as Secretary of the team. His response was typical of Mark: “If you’re thinking about whether you should or shouldn’t, then you shouldn’t.”

So I’ll just say this: my thoughts, and I’m sure I’m speaking on behalf of the entire team, are with the casualty and the family and here’s hoping for a full and speedy recovery.

For the rest of you, my apologies for the slightly cryptic writing and distinct lack of “juicy stuff”[4], but the responsibility of correctly dealing with the information that I possess is weighing heavily on my shoulders today.

[1] We always try to lower rather than have the person who’s going down the rockface in control of their own descent. This is so that you have two hands free, and also if someone (the crag-fast casualty for example) jumps and grabs you, then you have both hands free to help stop them from strangling you accidentally. 🙂
[2] Horizontal – so that the stretcher is lying horizontally so the casualty is lying on it, strapped in. This requires two lowering ropes, one for the head and one for the feet, along with two barrow boys, or “stretcher attendants”. The stretcher can then be used as a working platform for the barrow boys. We can also rig the stretcher vertically, so you’re descending as though you were standing up, but securely attached to the stretcher. A vertical lower is generally not suitable for someone with spinal injuries.
[3] Using a series of pullies and
prussics we rig the system to give us a 3:1 mechanical advantage, called a “z-rig
[4] Bearing in mind the typical injuries we see, that comment could be in terribly bad taste…

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