The durability, reliability and go-anywhere prowess of the Toyota Hilux are important assets for many prospective owners. When lives are at stake, though, those capabilities become even more vital.
It’s why the Killin Mountain Rescue Team (KMRT) in Scotland depends on the 4×4 pick-up to transport its members to inhospitable areas when they need to assist stricken climbers and walkers.
Mountain Rescue Hilux: what is KMRT?
KMRT – which was established in 1967, one year before the Hilux first went on sale – has approximately 60 members, none of them paid. The team is one of several across Scotland and covers a large area of the country, including remote parts of West Perthshire which are very popular with mountaineers. During 2018, the team responded to 34 callouts, and spent 124 hours on rescues, equating to 1842 individual hours given up by the volunteers.
Team member Will Diamond says: “The demographic of the team is extremely varied. Everyone comes from different walks of life. That’s what makes our team what it is. We have members who work for the emergency services, doctors, outdoor instructors and a number of gamekeepers and farmers, to name but a few professions.
“In terms of the skills each member must have, basic hill skills is absolutely crucial. We need to have local knowledge and know where the problem ‘hot spots’ are, as well as being able to navigate often in the dark or extremely poor weather with no visibility. Each team member brings something to the team.”
Mountain Rescue Hilux: what kit must be carried?
The equipment KMRT carries in the mountain rescue Hilux will depend on the type of rescue. The kit is kept in grab bags or boxes so the team can quickly grab the most suitable equipment in the event of a callout.
“For a ‘routine’ rescue we would carry one of the two types of stretcher that our team uses,” says Will. “One stretcher is made from carbon fibre and folds into three and is carried on the back by a team member. The other is a heavier stretcher which is used for more technical work and it comes as two parts and needs to be carried by two members.
“We carry a quantity of technical equipment with us, including ropes, slings and karabiners as well as other technical equipment to allow us to raise and lower a stretcher or casualty safely on tricky or dangerous terrain. There are also medical bags which contain equipment to treat fractures, sprains, cuts and so on.
“We carry a number of splints, including traction splints allowing us to potentially save a life when treating broken femurs. Then there are medications including oxygen, entonox, morphine and adrenaline, amongst others, allowing us to effectively treat a casualty and manage their pain.
“Within our emergency bags we also have a defibrillator, airway adjuncts and collars. When a casualty is being moved on a stretcher, they will be immobilised using a vacuum mattress, then loaded into a casualty bag, which is basically a big duvet to keep them warm.”
All of this equipment is carried in addition to personal equipment. Each team member will carry a rucksack with food and drink to last them whilst they’re out on the hill, emergency shelters and blankets to keep themselves or a casualty warm until more equipment arrives, plus full waterproofs, hats, gloves and goggles. And this is where the roomy Hilux comes into its own.
“With the amount of equipment to carry, a suitable vehicle is absolutely crucial,” says Will. “We use three vehicles in total as a team. The Hilux allows us to carry five team members comfortably over rough terrain, or in adverse weather such as snow or flooding, and also allows us to carry a large amount of equipment in the rear. In addition to that, on occasions, we will use the Hilux to tow a small trailer with extra equipment where necessary.”
Mountain Rescue Hilux: why did KMRT choose Toyota?
When KMRT decided it needed a new 4×4 last year, it managed to get financial support through a Stirling Council and Scottish Government initiative called ‘Your Priorities, Your Funding’.
“As a team, we presented a case for purchasing an additional 4×4 to compliment the one we already had,” says Will. “As a charity, it would have taken us a while to fundraise enough to purchase a new vehicle in full.
“We were voted as the top rural project and received £10,000 from the initiative to part-fund our vehicle. The dealership we bought the vehicle through, SDM in Falkirk, very kindly provided us with a hard canopy free of charge to keep our equipment secure and protected from the elements.”
Since joining KMRT’s fleet in June 2018, the mountain rescue Hilux has already demonstrated its versatility. Will explains: “A few weeks ago we had a call-out to a medical emergency in a very isolated area. The Hilux really came into its own and if we didn’t have the vehicle it would have been a walk of about five miles to the casualty’s location. From there we were able to bring the casualty down in the vehicle to meet the helicopter.”
Learn more: Hilux showcased at World Extreme Medicine