LEADERS of the 12 Lake District mountain rescue teams have reported a dramatic increase in incidents as lockdown eases.

The Lake District Search and Rescue Association has appealed for hikers to take measures to ensure their own safety while they are out on the fells.

The association said that nearly half of the 38 call-outs since the end of March have happened in the last seven days.

Last week there were 17 call-outs but none were reported the previous week.

A spokesman said: “The picture for the forthcoming months is starting to look grim.”

“What can you personally do to keep rescues to a minimum and help our volunteer teams?

“Getting onto the fells for healthy exercise is good but you must know your limits.

“Keep within those limits and avoid taking risks.

“Know your own level of skill, competence and experience and those of your group.

“Make sure you have the right equipment and valleys noting that many of our callouts are low down in the valley bottoms.

“Learn how to navigate.

"Don’t rely on smart phone technology it can let you down.

“Take a torch, even on the longest days.

"You never know when your activity will catch you out or you go to the help of a lost walker."

COVID-19 has meant teams have introduced new procedures to protect casualties and volunteers. This includes wearing personal protective equipment, maintaining social distancing where possible, and decontamination processes at the end of the rescue.

The spokesman also said: “All this inevitably slows down the rescue.

“This is unavoidable. We ask for your patience and understanding if you are unfortunate in having an accident or medical emergency.

“We will come to your aid but it will take longer than usual. However getting lost or overdue is totally avoidable.

“Finally be considerate to the local communities, take your litter home and keep the roads clear for emergency vehicles and farm traffic.

“Parking vehicles in passing places or on grass verges blocking field entrances is irresponsible and can compromise rescues.”

For safety advice go online to: www.adventuresmart.uk