HGSS

Emergency call

backhills

Safety guidelines

The purpose of the following section is to make the outdoor activities a pleasant experience for you. The guidelines are set out by the CMRS and are the result of many years of experience.

We hope that they will help you to enjoy outdoor activities in a safe manner.

If only one of these guidelines helps you to avoid an accident, this website has served its full purpose!

In case of an accident

Safety guidelines

High altitude mountaineering and mountaineering

Rock climbing

Skiing, ski touring and sledging

Speleology

Water activities

Underwater cave diving

Mountain biking

In case of an accident

In order to act properly in the event of an accident, the first rule is to maintain composure, and to calm the others down.

Therefore, in case of an accident, the following guidelines apply:

  • stay calm and calm the others down
  • protect the casualty and yourself from an imminent danger (fall, cold, sun, humidity, etc.) in the best possible way
  • provide first aid to the casualty to the best of your skills and abilities
  • mark the place of the accident or the place where the injured person is located (especially in winter)
  • report the accident to the CMRS immediately

 

The accident in mountains or other hardly accessible terrains where the CMRS assistance is required may be reported by contacting:

  • European emergency number: 112
  • the local CMRS teams
  • the CMRS information points (usually furnished mountain huts visibly marked with
  • the CMRS inscription and emblem)
  • the police (tel .: 192)
  • the emergency medical service (tel .: 194)
  • any member of the CMRS

Information on the accident should contain the following details:

  • name and mobile phone number of the person reporting the accident
  • location of the incident (with as many details as possible)
  • name, gender and age of the casualty
  • the nature of injuries or emergency – what happened?
  • steps taken up to that moment (first aid, entities notified of the accident)
  • weather conditions at the accident site
  • description of access to the accident site
  • most efficientcall for help is one with added GPS coordinates from smartphone

Mountain distress signal

The distress call in the mountains or on rock faces is made using light or sound signals. The distress call is repeated six times in the minute (every ten seconds). It is to be repeated after one minute of break in the same manner. The reply to such a signal is given with three successive indications per minute and likewise repeated after one minute of break. Calls and replies continue until clear connection is established.

The firing of a red flare is also a sign that assistance is required.

Moreover, if you wish to communicate with a helicopter in sight, raise both arms up and aside (forming the letter Y) to indicate “Yes” or “I need help”.

Mark the place of the accident with waving astrofoil (silver side). If location is shaded or during nightime night time use mobile or camera flashlight.

Safety guidelines

The safety guidelines define and regulate general and special measures and rules.

Pursuant to Article 13, paragraph 2 of the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service Act, and at the proposal of the CMRS, the National Protection and Rescue Directorate (i.e. the Civil Protection Directorate within the Ministry of the Interior as of January 1, 2019) adopted the Safety Guidelines on April 28, 2017. The safety guidelines define and regulate general and special measures and rules of conduct for persons participating in activities in the mountains and other inaccessible areas. The safety guidelines can be downloaded in the following link: LINK

High altitude mountaineering and mountaineering

High altitude mountains are the ones rising 2500m and higher above sea level.

Mountains rising 2500m and higher above sea level are considered high altitude mountains. That altitude is the limit above which temporary symptoms, or serious health issues, may occur. Safety risks in high altitude mountaineering should be taken seriously and prepared for.

Mountaineering

The most important advice we can give is to choose an activity which suits your physical and mental capabilities.

  • never mountaineer alone
  • always inform someone about your route, expected time of return and stick to your plan
  • leave a written trace in mountaineering evidence books in lodges and peaks
  • ask experienced mountaineers for advice and take them into consideration
  • prepare yourself for weather condition changes. Pack spare clothes and protection from elements (rain, wind)
  • always pack a headlamp to be able to move in case of low visibility or during nightfall
  • always pack your first aid kit
  • always pack a map and compass, and learn to use them correctly
  • follow marked trails
  • hiking boots are essential for mountaineering
  • don’t go mountaineering in the days following serious rain or snowfall
  • pack your mobile phone with a fully charged battery
  • learn how to read coordinates of your location using a smartphone

High altitude mountains are the ones rising 2500m and higher above sea level

  • gain as much experience as possible in lower altitude areas before going into high altitude mountains
  • basic or even advanced alpinist knowledge is essential for high altitude mountaineering especially if you are going on tougher routes.
  • pack your essential gear like spare clothes, technical gear, protection from sun and insects, first aid kit but beware not to overpack your backpack
  • inform yourself of your route by reading literature or asking experienced mountaineers for advice
  • success and safety during the climb highly depend on physical and mental preparedness
  • the human body burns a lot of energy in high altitudes. Therefore, it is necessary to eat high calory foods that are easily digested
  • the temperature drops approximately by 0,65 to 1 Celsius degree for every 100 meters of altitude
  • climb carefully and steadily without rushing and running. Your body needs time to acclimatize to lower oxygen conditions of higher altitudes
  • learn to recognize the symptoms of high-altitude sickness (nausea, headache, lack of appetite, weakness…). Should you feel any of the symptoms, it is best to cancel your trip and get to a lower altitude
  • hydrate yourself. Among other reasons, dehydration can occur due to lower atmospheric pressure and it is essential to drink water constantly during your trip.
  • pack your gear: pickaxes and crampons are essential gear for high altitude mountaineering in snow conditions that can occur above 2500m even in summer months. If you are going to mountain areas where there is a possibility of avalanches, always carry an avalanche transceiver, a shovel and a probe. Learn to use the equipment otherwise it has no purpose.
  • there aren`t any mountains higher than 2500m in Croatia but this advice can equally be applied to mountaineering in mountains such as Velebit or Biokovo though it mostly applies to Alpine mountaineering as those locations are often the aim of Croatian mountaineering expeditions.
  • the European emergency number is 112 (applies for Switzerland too)
  • should You need help don`t hesitate to call for mountain rescuers.
  • Remember that the best alpinists and high-altitude mountaineers are the ones who are still alive.

Rock climbing

Climbing is dangerous. You need to do everything you can to mitigate the effects of gravity and falling.

The following guidelines apply:

  • always double check your and your partner’s gear
  • wear a climbing helmet
  • use only the CE/ UIAA- certified gear
  • never use the gear, especially of aluminum or iron (e.g. carabiners, safety devices (belay) etc.) that suffered a fall from a height
  • communicate with your climbing partner
  • study the route that you plan to climb (height, grade, necessary gear, sketches)
  • do not drink and rock climb

Skiing, ski touring and sledging

Research has shown that 60% of injuries can be prevented by responsible behavior.

Due to many years of skiing experience and many rescue operations, the CMRS set out the following guidelines:

  • choose a ski slope that is in line with your skiing abilities
  • do not stop or rest in the middle of the slope, but rather move to the side
  • maintain physical fitness
  • service your ski equipment regularly
  • respect the ´no sledging on ski slopes´ sign
  • sledge in the designated areas only

10 Fis rules for conduct

Rules for the Conduct of Skiers and Snowboarders FIS has since many decades published guidelines to assist in the promotion of skiing and snowboarding, such as the rules for the conduct of skiers and snowboarders. These are to be used for guidance only and are subject to and do not replace the specific rules applicable to any given ski area, course, park or competition.

  •  Respect for others A skier or snowboarder must behave in such a way that he does not endanger or prejudice others.
  • Control of speed and skiing or snowboarding A skier or snowboarder must move in control. He must adapt his speed and manner of skiing or snowboarding to his personal ability and to the prevailing conditions of terrain, snow and weather as well as to the density of traffic.
  • Choice of route A skier or snowboarder coming from behind must choose his route in such a way that he does not endanger skiers or snowboarders ahead.
  • Overtaking A skier or snowboarder may overtake another skier or snowboarder above or below and to the right or to the left provided that he leaves enough space for the overtaken skier or snowboarder to make any voluntary or involuntary movement.
  • Entering, starting and moving upwards A skier or snowboarder entering a marked run, starting again after stopping or moving upwards on the slopes must look up and down the slopes that he can do so without endangering himself or others.
  • Stopping on the slope Unless absolutely necessary, a skier or snowboarder must avoid stopping on the slope in narrow places or where visibility is restricted. After a fall in such a place, a skier or snowboarder must move and clear of the slope as soon as possible.
  • Climbing and descending on foot A skier or snowboarder either climbing or descending on foot must keep to the side of the slope.
  • Respect for signs and markings A skier or snowboarder must respect all signs and markings.
  • Assistance At accidents, every skier or snowboarder is duty bound to assist.
  • Identification Every skier or snowboarder and witness, whether a responsible party or not, must exchange names and addresses following an accident.

Ski touring

Ski touring offers great opportunities to discover nature, share experiences, take on responsibilities and keep fit. The following advice will help you deal with any danger you may have to face in the winter.

These ten points are based on the recommendations made by the CAA and have been completed by the SAC training and safety experts. However, they can’t replace training courses, which provide a solid base and help you expand your competences and improve your technique with qualified instructors.

Ten tips

(by Swiss Alpine Club)

1. Fit and healthy

Ski touring is an endurance sport. The effort it demands, which is beneficial for the heart and circulation, requires you to be in good health and able to assess your abilities. Avoid being pushed by time and adopt a pace which is suited to all members of the group. Bear in mind that you will need to save energy for the descent.

2. Careful planning

Information about distance, height differences, the level of difficulty and the conditions can be found on maps, in guide books, online or by asking experts. The weather forecast is particularly important as storms, snow, wind and cold weather can greatly increase the risk of accidents. Make sure that the itinerary is adapted to the level of the group and always plan alternative ones. Take note of the emergency mountain rescue phone numbers of the country (REGA: 1414; European emergency number: 112).

3. Appropriate equipment

Make sure your equipment is suitable for winter conditions and for your destination. If you’re headed for areas prone to avalanches, avalanche transceivers, spade and snow probe, first aid kit, bivouac sack and mobile phone constitute the standard emergency equipment which everyone should carry. An airbag rucksack increases the chances of survival. Check your equipment before every outing and emphasise the importance of this to all the other members of the group. For outings on glaciers, it is essential to have a harness and other specialized equipment.

4. Avalanche report and snow conditions

Before setting out, get detailed information concerning the risk of avalanches. Check the avalanche report, paying particular attention to the danger level (1-5), and information about the type of danger (what is the main danger today?), exposure and altitude. Take note of the dangerous sections (what dangerous parts will I be confronted with?) and the weather evolution during the day.

5. Evaluate the danger of avalanches

It is very difficult to determine the risk of avalanches. Base your decision on strategic methods to estimate the risk and learn to recognise the warning signs (e.g. snowdrifts). Steer well clear of dangerous areas and turn back if in doubt. Bear in mind that avalanches can also occur in the forest.

6. Breaks and orientation

To keep up your energy levels and stay concentrated, it is important to take breaks, to eat and to drink. Hot, isotonic drinks are ideal for quenching your thirst and warming you up, especially in the winter. Always use your sense of direction to find where you are and check it by using a map, a compass, an altimeter or a GPS. It is essential to have this equipment on you for orientation. Other skiers’ tracks provide no guarantee so be wary of them!

7. Respect distances and instructions

Keeping a certain distance between everyone helps spare the snow cover and reduces the danger if there is an avalanche. In addition, kick turns on steep slopes are easier when there is a distance of 10 meters between everyone. During the descent, the distance should be of 30 meters. On steep slopes, skiers should go down one after the other and each one should stay on a defined line.

8. Avoid falls

Falls on the descent are the most frequent cause of ski touring accidents. They put extra stress on the snow cover. A good skiing technique and an appropriate speed (depending on your ability) help reduce the risk. Wearing a helmet protects your head. NB Be particularly careful if the snow is frozen and if there are stones or rocks.

9. Small groups

There are fewer risks with small groups (up to 6 people). Dangerous situations can be avoided by communicating clearly with the other participants and respecting one another. Stay in a group and share your impressions. Every member of the group must know where you’re going and what route they are taking. Make sure a family member knows your destination, what itinerary you have planned and when you expect to be back. If you’ve planned an outing on your own, beware – minor incidents can easily turn into serious emergencies.

10. Respect nature and the environment

High mountain areas are the perfect place to discover the uniqueness of nature. Appreciate this freedom and respect the fragile environment and the areas where animals take refuge. Stay on the official paths and avoid reforestation areas.

Speleology

Caving is beautiful but potentially dangerous activity that can lead to accidents. We strongly advice completing certified caving courses to gain knowledge and confidence before engaging in caving.

Caving Guidelines

  • Train, learn constantly and improve yourself.
  • Never cave alone! The minimum team consists of 3 members.
  • If an accident happens one team member goes for help while the other stays with the injured person.
  • Always carry a spare light and first aid kit.
  • Inform yourself of conditions in the cave.
  • Ask experienced cavers, Croatian mountaineering association or local caving clubs for more information. Inform them of your plans
  • Inform others of your plans and time of return.
  • Inform local or national caving clubs about your plans.
  • Carry warm clothes, gloves, uderlayer and astrofoil. Caves tend to be cold.
  • Move according to slowest team member pace.
  • If you are stranded, don’t worsen situation by wandering. Wait and signal for help.
  • Warm yourself while resting. Isolete yourself from the ground (sit on ropes or backpack)
  • Don’t disturb the animals (bats, bugs…) Some animals are disease carriers.
  • Check caving records of histoplasmosys (fungus infection often found in bat and bird feces) Symptoms of histoplasmosys are similar to tuberculosis.
  • Rescue operations in caves are tehnicaly and logisticaly qite demanding and complicated. Rescue can last from several hours to several days.
  • Don’t drink and cave.

Water activities

It is crucial that everyone be aware of the dangers that can arise during water activities and more importantly how to prevent those potential hazards from becoming a reality.

CMRS swift water and flood rescue technician instructors set out the following guidelines:

  • respect water (rivers, lakes, sea) and be aware of the dangers
  • never engage in water adventures alone
  • get information from local sports clubs and rangers
  • study well the planned route, especially the dangerous sections such as canyons, cascades, travertine barriers and waterfalls
  • avoid engaging in water adventures in times of rising water level, floods and at night
  • always check the weather forecast and take note of the sudden changes in weather and water conditions since e.g. precipitation can significantly raise the water level
  • do not drink and engage in water adventures
  • after water activities, apply disintectants
  • Use the safety gear – a helmet and a life jacket
  • when organizing various humanitarian, sports and commercial events with a large number of participants, be sure to include professional water rescuers and licensed guides (skippers), inform the local emergency medical service and the police and obtain permission from the Port Authority
  • in case of an accident or emergency, contact the 112 center immediately. Determine the location of the accident and provide as many details as possible (what happened, the number of people involved, etc.). Do not take any complicated rescue operations on your own but rather wait for qualified professional help.
  • do not pollute water

Underwater cave diving

The CMRS has also teams trained for rescue operations in speleological and underwater sites. Therefore, in case of an emergency in caves, contact the CMRS imemdiately by dialing the 112 emergency number.

The following guidelines apply:

  1. Only trained and certified cave divers may engage in cave diving acitivities. Cave diving is not recommended to open water divers since no amount of open-water diving experience can prepare them for the hazards they will encounter inside a cave.
  2. Diving in underwater caves in Croatia should be taken extremely seriously. A dive or expedition should be carefully planned. Underwater caves in Croatia are often muddy, complex, deep and cold.
  3. When planning the dive or expedition into an underwater cave, do not overestimate your possibilities and abilities nor underestimate the conditions and morphology and depth of the planned underwater speleological site.
  4. Before setting on an underwater cave diving venture or expedition in Croatia, you should first obtain all the necessary permits from the public authority competent for the corresponding area.
  5. In the event of an accident, stay calm and dial 112. Provide as many details as possible (your location, what happened, number of people involved). The CMRS is the only service in Croatia with a team trained for rescue operations in speleological and underwater sites.

Mountain biking

The safety tips listed in this text are intended for all active mountain bikers, regardless of the branch of mountain biking they are engaged in or the level of commitment they invest in this sport.

Despite the many subjective and objective dangers that are an integral part of this sport, with proper education and adoption of certain rules, many of them can be reduced. In this way, you contribute to your own safety, but also to the safety of the whole group.

With a higher level of awareness of all possible accident scenarios and the correct response with the necessary equipment and knowledge, it is possible to take care of the injured person and prevent further injuries until the arrival of emergency services. In the best case scenario, you will take care of the casualty to continue driving.

  • Individual ride
  • inform others about your travel plan and approximate arrival time or use Google Location Sharing or similar. an app with a trusted
  • person who will be able to track your movements
  • basic first aid
  • whistle (where easily accessible)
  • full battery on mobile phone
  • crash sensor (eg ANGi) / cycling computer connected to your mobile phone with the option to call a predefined user
  • learn to use the functions of a GPS device so that you can read the coordinates of your location or
  • install one of the free applications on your mobile phone that displays your current coordinates
  • always carry something sweet (chocolate, candy, etc.) and something salty (eg a little salt)
  • allergy tablets if you are allergic, and an additional recommendation is to consult your doctor and wear tablets to alleviate the
  • allergic reaction in case of stings of hornets, bees or the like.
  • if you have a disease (eg diabetes, heart problem, epilepsy, etc.) and / or are taking the necessary medication, write it on a piece of
  • paper that you can put in your first aid to be available as information in the rescue

Group ride

inform the members of the group if you have a disease and / or are taking the necessary medication and make sure that in that case your medication is in an accessible and familiar place

GENERAL:

  • join a local club to hear the advice of more experienced members
  • learn to use all the equipment in your first aid
  • educate yourself about providing first aid / invest in a good first aid book / practice
  • within the club contact the local Mountain Rescue Service Station for the organization of presentations, trainings and lectures on
  • first aid and HGSS
  • visualize possible scenarios and how you would best address them in the comfort of your own home

Example of recommended first aid for MTB

  • Each functional first aid must contain at least:
  • nitrile protective gloves (to protect yourself from contamination)
  • first turn
  • a pair of sterile compresses / gauze
  • bend
  • a pair of patches of different sizes
  • astrofolia (protection of the casualty from external atmospheric influences)
  • other (medicines, personal data)