Rescue in Wilderness is very complex subject but driven by very simple principle: ensure public safety and simultaneously protect the wilderness resource.

Let’s see if this dual concept is finally coming in also to Europe.

In October 2016, two Slovak teachers realised the study visit to Iceland, the European country with the large wilderness! The purpose of they visit was to attend the international conference “Rescue 2016”, pre-conference course, to meet the Icelandic partners, to document the melting of the glaciers, discuss the consequences of climate changes, to open the possibilities of future cooperation for Slovak subject and to develop the partnership between Slovak and Icelandic organisations.

The Conference “Rescue 2016” organised by Icelandic organisation for the search and rescue ICE – SAR was the event for the volunteers, teachers, youth workers, environmental educators, rescue team members. The conference with the international speakers was held in the capital of Reykjavik at Harpa congress centre with the attendance of almost 1000 of international participants, presenting more than 50 lectures.

The speakers stressed the topics of communication during the call outs, night rescue, environmental issues of the search and rescue, increasing tourism as the factor of increasing danger, avalanche and flooding rescue, work with youth groups. The educational program Search and Rescue and environmental education was the part of Secondary School curriculum at Iceland.

Iceland is country with the total population of people around 350 000 and ICE-SAR is a rescue organisation with 10 000 members and supporters, all volunteers, many of them young people and women. They are very committed and important members of the society, because as they are saying  “you never now, when you are going to need the help”.

All rescue help is free of charge for the locals as well as for the increasing number of foreign tourists. The patron of the organisation was the President of Iceland. Iceland experience and Slovak future cooperation can be inspiring in the topics of environmental education, reducing the climate change consequences, promotion of youth volunteers’ involvement in the environmental and rescue programs. All this can be very important for the safe and responsible actions while more and more people, students, nature lowers go to the nature and wilderness.

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About Author

Vlado Vancura is the Deputy Chairman and Director of wilderness of the European Wilderness Society and is based in Liptovsky Hradok, Slovakia.

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