Case Studies

The Peak District Mountain Rescue Organisation.

John Halstead – PDMRO ICT Officer

The Peak District Mountain Rescue Organisation is one of the 48 teams and 9 regions that make up the MREW, Mountain Rescue England & Wales. The PDMRO is an umbrella organisation for 7 Mountain Rescue Teams that cover the area, Buxton, Edale, Derby, Glossop, Oldham, Kinder and Woodhead. Collectively these teams respond to around 500 incidents each year ranging from walking, climbing, mountain biking as well as major searches, aircraft crashes and flood support. There is not one paid employee within the PDMRO and all 7 teams are volunteer charitable organisations.

The Challenge

Due to changes by the license holder (UKSAR), the need to make more efficient use of the channels available and an increasing and more varied workload, MREW made a change nationally to the channels Mountain Rescue uses. To increase the effectiveness MREW also stated intent to migrate from an aging FM system towards a new digital system.

The previous FM radio solution brought with it a fixed way of communicating, limited range and problems keeping a consistent and clear connection between team members when out on call during a rescue.

The challenge that faced Zycomm was to provide, supply and install a new wide area digital two way radio network infrastructure allowing the PDMRO to always have clear and consistent communication between team members locally and to be able to communicate between teams on major incidents and multi-team searches.

The Brief

  • Provide a migration path to change the current analogue FM system over to new digital technology.
  • To create a new digital two way radio network that could cover the major parts of the Peak District region.
  • To provide a scalable network in order for the 7 teams within the PDMRO to communicate locally or over a wider area as necessary.
  • To supply and install the new system across the 7 teams making up PDMRO.
  • To supply a system that worked 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
  • To provide a digital system that could incorporate GPS features and be a base platform for emerging digital technologies.
  • To provide the PDMRO with constant support 24/7.

The Solution

Zycomm provided The Peak District Mountain Rescue Organisation with Hytera Digital radio repeaters. These repeaters were installed predominantly at or close to Rescue Team Bases with the master repeater installed at Zycomm’s own mast which is located at Peasunhurst.

The seven repeaters are connected together over IP; this is achieved through Zycomm providing a managed VPN (Virtual Private Network) over the internet. The VPN is monitored 24 hours, 7 days a week, allowing Zycomm to be a constant support to the PDMRO if any network issues arise.

The Outcome

Communication is incredibly important in order for the Peak District Mountain Rescue Organisation and its seven teams to be successful in keeping people safe and attended to as quickly as possible. Under the old FM system their communication was limited but with the change and addition of the digital technology this has been resolved.

The new digital repeater system and handsets enables the PDMRO to have more flexibility, their communication is now robust and reliable wherever their team members are in the Peak District Region. Instead of one level of communication they are now able to work with three:

  • Simplex, set to set communication
  • The use of repeaters locally around a Team Base
  • The use of the repeaters connected together for wider coverage

The new digital system allows Peak District Mountain Rescue Organisation teams to cover the majority of the Peak District Region without walking out of radio coverage. This improved and now consistent communication is a vital tool for the Mountain Rescue teams in the Peak District, it provides significant benefits in helping them to carry out their rescues quickly and efficiently for people who are in need of their services.

When we were given the task of who to choose for our communication needs, we wanted more than a supplier, we wanted a partnership which is something that we now have with Zycomm.

Mick Blood
Mick Blood - DMR Project Manager

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