Hundreds of emergency and essential service workers will make their way to work over this holiday period. Staff of the Coast Guard working at the marine emergency coordination centres in Dublin, Malin Head and on Valentia Island will be ready to take calls. They will also listen out for distress calls on the global maritime distress safety system. They are there to help and to respond, to dispatch and coordinate the response to emergency calls when people get into difficulty.
Search and Rescue Units will be on-call and ready to respond throughout the entire holiday period; just as they are at all other times during the year. That’s 24 hours per day, seven days per week
Coast Guard volunteers are stationed at 55 locations on the coast and on inland waters. Along with Royal National Lifeboat Institution and Community Rescue Boats Ireland, volunteers will more than likely be called away from their families to assist persons in difficulty. Volunteers with Irish Cave and Mountain Rescue Units will similarly be on standby should they be needed. So too will the Coast Guard SAR helicopter crews at Dublin, Shannon, Sligo and Waterford Airports.
Christmas is a good time for us to reflect on the selfless dedication and courage of those working and available 24/7 in the rescue services. It is also a good time to think of your own responsibility when partaking in outdoor pursuits or activities and to ensure you have the proper training and ability.
It’s vital you are using equipment that is fit for purpose, have made careful plans, have checked the weather forecast and are following recommended procedure before venturing out. Whether it’s boating, fishing, hill walking, climbing, caving or some other activity. Please remember that it’s the winter. Days are very short, water and air temperatures are low, weather conditions can be bad and there may be ice and fog about. All these things, along with the capability to alert the rescue services if things go wrong, must be taken into account.
Advice from the Coast Guard for parents is to please keep a sharp eye on your children. Rivers are swollen with floodwater and never, ever, allow them to go out on ice that forms on water.
Remember, if you do see someone in difficulty at sea, on the cliffs or rivers or lakes of Ireland, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the COAST GUARD
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