REACT distater relief team

From mountains to disaster zones: The journey of a medical response bag

By Kenny Stocker

A Made In Britain story celebrating how a little home grown medical bag has support MRT and Disaster Relief teams around the world.

In the world of disaster and crisis response, having the right tools and equipment can mean the difference between life and death. This has been understood by rescue teams across the globe, including the Ogwen Mountain Rescue Team and REACT.

This is a Made In Britain story celebrating how a little home grown bag; The MRT Medical Pack has been helping rescue teams to save lives around the world.

A bag to save lives

The Ogwen Mountain Rescue Team (OMRT) has been watching our backs since 1965.

Having to adapt to meet the demands of the Welsh landscape, their innovative approach to medical response required the development of a highly specialised medical response bag.

Realising that most of the bags on the market were heavy and bulky, they approached us to make a custom medical pack.

With our UK design and manufacturing capabilities, we engineered a solution that has over the years, evolved to swallow an array of medical supplies tailored to treat injuries common to the mountainous environment. Some key features of the bag include:

  • Compact Design: The bag's compact design allows for ease of transport and minimises the burden on rescue team members. It's essential for swift response in remote areas.

  • Specialised Equipment: Inside the bag, you'll find items such as tourniquets, splints, wound dressings, and medications specifically chosen for mountain rescue scenarios.

  • Weatherproofing: The bag is made of durable, weatherproof materials to protect its contents from the elements. This is crucial when responding to incidents in challenging outdoor conditions.

Expanding horizons: Disaster and crisis response

While the OMRT's medical response bag was created for mountain rescues, its versatility quickly became evident. Designed and Made in Britain, this bag would quickly prove it's worth around the world.

REACT is a UK-based Disaster Response charity consisting of highly trained volunteer Responders with the skills and training for rapid deployment to global disasters and other humanitarian crises.

Paul Taylor - International Operations Manager from RE:ACT explains how he discovered the MRT Medical pack.

This all came about because we have been developing our medical capability and needed a better product for our Response teams.
Matt Ladbrook (Med Advisor) and I are members of the WEMSI faculty and had seen the red bags in Scotland and Wales running wilderness med courses through one of the faculty who is in Ogwen MRT. They have proved to be a big hit and just what we needed.

The same equipment that was so effective in the Welsh mountains would be invaluable in disaster and crisis response scenarios:

  • Natural Disasters: The bag's specialised equipment is well-suited to treating injuries resulting from natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods. It has become an asset in various relief efforts worldwide.
  • Urban Search and Rescue: OMRT's bag has found applications in urban search and rescue missions, where responders may encounter victims trapped in collapsed buildings, requiring specialised care and equipment.

  • Remote Areas: The bag's compact design and ability to withstand harsh weather conditions make it a crucial asset for crisis response in remote areas, where access to traditional medical facilities may be limited or nonexistent.

MRT Medical pack

How the REACT team use their medical packs

Each REACT 4 person team has a team medic, these are the people who use the MRT Medical Pack.

The Medics complete a wilderness first responder (WFR) course with Remote Area Risk International (R2Ri) at Plas y Brenin in Wales. As part of the course they visit Ogwen MRT.

Some of the Ogwen team are also part of Wilderness Emergency Medical Services Institute (WEMSI), a faculty of medical and outdoor professionals who deliver wilderness medical training in Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

Paul is a member of the faculty and discovered the MRT Medical Pack at courses delivered in Scotland and Wales.

Realising they were just what his team needed, he reached out to us, and we made 6 bags to his specifications.

Paul's journey with REACT started in 2015 in response to the Nepal earthquake. Since then, he has responded to hurricanes in Haiti, the British Virgin Islands and The Bahamas. Earthquakes in Nepal, Turkey and Morocco, Earthquakes and Tsunamis in Indonesia. Cyclones in Mozambique and has most recently been out to Ukraine a number of times since the Russian invasion.

What has inspired me the most on these deployments is the power of humanity, whether that has been supporting communities that have been marginalised in The Bahamas, people who are geographically hard to reach up in the mountains in Nepal and supporting communities in areas along the contact line in Ukraine who had been living under Russian occupation. In my experience, people in situations like this need a literal and metaphorical hand up, and just to know we are coordinating aid and understanding their needs is powerful.

REACT does not provide medical aid to those affected by the disaster. The medics are there to support the team, but invariably, being the first or only people there, they are able to provide some medical assistance. In Morocco, this was people with open wounds that had become infected.

In Morocco, the team's biggest challenge was access. With only a few roads heading up into the mountains, some impassable owing to landslides and destruction, the only way to reach the disaster sites was on foot. The MRT Medical packs were invaluable for this last stage, getting the supplies right where needed to ensure the team could operate effectively.

The MRT Medical Packs' compact design, specialised equipment, and durability have made it a lifeline for responders and victims alike, emphasising the importance of innovation and adaptability in the world of emergency medical response. This customisable medical pack can be purchased ready to go or fully customised to make it yours.

Rucksacks and backpacks

Ultralight 13-litre day pack, folds away into its own pocket
$24.99 $34.99
6-litre hip pack for carrying riding and running essentials
$44.99 $54.99
Hip pack: UK made, weatherproof, 3L
10-litre hyrdation vest giving secure and stable space for essential kit
$54.99 $64.99
15-litre multi-activity daypack that's lightweight for high intensity
$44.99 $54.99
14-litre mountain bike backpack built for hydration and comfort on the bike
$69.99 $84.99
25-litre ultra marathon backpack with space for overnight kit and comfort on the run
$79.99 $99.99
25-litre multi-activity daypack that's lightweight, stable and streamlined
$74.99 $94.99
45-litre mountaineering backpack for carrying heavy kit in tough environments
$109.99 $129.99
55-litre hiking backpack for multi-day trekking, hiking and backpacking
$89.99 $109.99
65-litre hiking backpack for multi-day trekking, hiking and backpacking
$94.99 $119.99

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