A volunteer had a lucky escape when he became lost on the North York Moors whilst working alone.
The man was undertaking a wildlife survey when he took a shortcut and struggled to find his way back. To make matters worse, his phone battery quickly went flat leaving him with no means to navigate.
Fortunately the man had been able to alert the police that he was lost before his phone died. They contacted the National Park Authority although they were unable to pinpoint his location.
Covering 554 square miles, the North York Moors National Park is one of the most remote parts of Yorkshire and the North East.
The volunteer had followed lone working ‘buddy’ procedures correctly and given his whereabouts to a family member at home. However, in a stroke of bad luck they’d gone out and left their mobile phone indoors and could not be contacted.
Eventually the worker was able to find his car and let others know he was safe, but things could easily have turned out differently. This highlights the dangers of working alone in such a remote location without being able to get help.
Since the incident, the National Park Authority have made changes to their working policies. Volunteers must now record where and when they will be if lone working. Working in or around water must only be done in pairs and those using their ‘buddy’ system must be contactable at all times.
Out on the moors, volunteers are at the mercy of the elements with the rugged terrain creating additional risk. Intermittent mobile coverage in the area means that signal isn’t always available. This is where safety devices that work using satellite technology could potentially save lives if workers get into difficulty. These devices can track a worker’s location and alert others or rescue services if there’s an emergency.
It’s easy to see how a device like this could have helped in the situation above. Although thankfully on this occasion all turned out well, it serves as an important safety reminder for those working in isolated areas.