Saturday, 4 June 2022

HGSS Gives Important Advice to Hikers Ahead of the Season

June 4, 2022 - Summer is the most popular time of year for hiking in Croatia's national parks. However, many are unaware of the unpredictable conditions that could put one or more lives at risk, which is why Mario Saban from HGSS has decided to dish out some important advice for those interested in hiking in national parks.

The Croatian Mountain Rescue Service (HGSS) appeals to all mountaineers and people who come to Velebit and the mountain in general not to underestimate it because the mountain rarely forgives mistakes, says the director of the Velebit Nature Park Public Institution, HGSS member Mario Saban.

"Mountains rarely forgive mistakes - when you go to the mountain without enough water, without prior information about which way you will go, how long it will take. It can all be fatal," Saban said during a presentation to journalists about the tourist potential of Plitvice Lakes, Udbina, and Gospić under the slogan "Lika is a character (medicine)" and the hiking event "Three days of three peaks" - to Mrsinj, Ozeblin, and Oštra.

He recalled that last year German scouts aged 12 to 15 came to Velebit without following the forecast.

"It was nice and sunny weather, in the middle of summer, they started short-sleeved. But, as Velebit is quite unpredictable, the weather deteriorated in a couple of hours, the scouts got lost, they didn't know where they were going, and launched an HGSS search operation. If we didn't find them until later that evening, they would surely freeze by morning."

"When you go to the mountain, you need to prepare for it, you need to know where you are going, and how long you will stay on the mountain. You should always contact someone and inform them where you are going. It is also important that you never go to the mountain alone," said Saban.

Adequate clothing and footwear are also important, he added. "It's a well-known story that tourists know how to go in flip-flops because they think we're just going for a little walk."

"They start in inadequate clothes, the rain gets them wet quickly, it gets cold on the mountain, it's humid and they catch a cold easily," says Shaban.

"The basis of mountaineering," he pointed out, "is to dress in layers and put on sturdy hiking shoes."

Bring caloric foods and energy bars

You must always have a first aid kit and a mobile phone in your backpack, he said. "Never drink alcohol because people think it will warm them up a bit, but the opposite happens, alcohol does not heat up, but you quickly get a feeling of warmth, circulation goes, you get even colder and that is the cause of the cold.", he warned.

"The standard is to bring something caloric to the mountain, such as bacon, food that gives the body carbohydrates so that you can withstand walking. Energy and vitamin bars are also recommended.

It is always better to drink isotonic drinks than to drink clean water because by taking a large amount of water from the body you excrete a certain amount of electrolytes and salts, and without them, the body loses strength. That's why you should always bring high-calorie food and sweetened drinks to the mountains.", he recommended.

Shaban recalled anecdotes about the rescue operation of a Korean tourist in the Plitvice Lakes National Park.

The tourist photographed over the edge and fell down. He hung on the branches, clinging to them like a cat. When I came down for him, I had to break a lot of branches in the rescue operation, and he asked me at one point - so break the branches, is this a national park?"

''We also saved a paraglider on Visocica. He stayed on the beeches that are more than 35 meters long and hung helplessly. When I came up for him, his wing was left in the canopy. I secured the paraglider, and with a knife cut the threads that hold the wing, and he got angry with me and asked me why I didn't go up more so that I could lower his wing as well'', Saban recalls.

Saban also says that people call them to pull them out of the snow when they drive across Velebit, but this has become frequent, so now they do not respond to such calls if no one is endangered. "Let them call the towing service," he said.

HGSS's Gospić station has an average of about 35 rescue operations a year.

Source: Večernji List

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Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Croatian Mountain Rescue Service Receives Donation of Premium Tires by Finnish Manufacturer Nokian

June 9, 2021 - The Croatian Mountain Rescue Service (HGSS), a volunteer, nonprofit organisation specialized in search and rescue, has received a donation of tires for their vehicles, manufactured by a Finnish company Nokian.

As reported by HGSS on their official website, In Vulkal's branch office on Slavonska Avenue, starting at 10:00 a.m., a formal conference was organized on the occasion of the donation of premium tires of the Nokian brand to the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service, which was immediately set up on rescue vehicles.

The ceremony was attended by the director of Vulkal, Mr. Željko Kalečak, a representative of the Finnish manufacturer Nokian tires Mr. Ivan Bura, the Head of HGSS Mr. Josip Granić, and a representative of the Commission for Information and Analytics of HGSS Mr. Jadran Kapović. The donation is the crown of many years of cooperation between Vulkal and Nokian Tires, an effort to provide maximum safety and comfort to drivers and other road users. It is this commitment to the well-being, prosperity, and recovery of a society affected by earthquakes and pandemics that have resulted in cooperation with one of the most respected humanitarian organizations on Croatian soil.

Few will not recognize the mission and need for the existence of the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service, from which originates the desire and task of preserving human lives in all terrains and in all conditions. An organization that has so far saved thousands of injured people, found the lost, comforted the frightened, reunited families, enabled the emergence of new ones. Fearless professionals willing to sacrifice their own lives to save others need reliability and endurance in the field to carry out their interventions as professionally as possible. 

"From the very beginning, Vulkal has taken care of the safety of drivers and vehicles, with a full commitment to the quality of service and every tire delivered. We are extremely pleased to give our contribution to the volunteers of HGSS, whose work and commitment we follow with great respect and deep affection. In moments when every second counts and there is no room for error, top-of-the-line Nokian tires will provide them with first-class stability, faster and safer intervention, and easier access to off-road locations'', said Mr. Kalečak, director of Vulkal and continued:

“The brave heart of HGSS is a real inspiration to all who nurture a similar vision, feel a similar vocation. Protecting human lives, providing timely assistance and unconditional support are the main drivers of social development, but also goodness in others that creates a better and safer tomorrow for all. That is why we are extremely pleased with this donation and all the activities that are just ahead of us'', concluded Mr. Kalečak.

A similar postulate is evident in Nokian’s 120-year-long business tradition dedicated to providing safety, peace of mind, and a new driving experience that combines experience and visionary technology, emotion, and adventure. 

The representative of Nokian, Mr. Bura, also gave his opinion on the donation and emphasized: “For us as a company that had a great influence on the development of tires, a company that designed the first winter tire, improving safety and preserving the environment is a sincere pleasure to support organizations such as the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service. Their goals in unconditional and voluntary help are priceless, they are a shining example of working for the common good and the well-being of all of us. We are honored that together with the company Vulkal, our long-term partner in the Republic of Croatia, we will join forces and together at least help the HGSS members and make their voluntary and hard work easier and safer with a huge thank you. This support is not a one-off, but a pledge for a common future with people with a big heart, in the years to come. ”

Thanks for the donation on behalf of the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service were sent by its Head, Mr. Granić, stating:

"Our work must be without error because our primary and greatest goal is to preserve and save human lives. In our work, we use a number of tools to help someone and carry out a successful rescue operation. One of the tools is our vehicles, which must be equipped with quality tires in order to be able to move on all terrains where we operate. With this donation, we will certainly be ready to respond to all challenges in those hard-to-reach areas. Thanks to Vulkal and Nokian for the donation, engagement, and effort on behalf of HGSS, but indirectly also on behalf of everyone who will need our help in the future. We are happy that with this donation, our team of experts has further expanded, and thus enabled even faster, higher quality and better operation of our organization.''

A respectable member of HGSS, Mr. Kapović, also commented on the donation: "70 years are behind us. Today, the HGSS has over 1,000 members and has successfully performed more than 10,000 interventions. To the HGSS as a voluntary association financed by state institutions and with the funds of local self-government units, every donation means a lot. We are pleased that Nokian Tires and their representative in our country, Vulkal, have recognized our work and decided to support us by donating ambulance tires. It will certainly help us in a better organization of work and raise the level of readiness and provide even better conditions for emergency interventions.

This is just the beginning of the collaboration between Vulkal, Nokian, and HGSS and we really appreciate that Nokian is donating quality ambulance tires not only to us, but to all rescue services.

We would also like to thank Vulkal, which for its part made professional vulcanizers at our disposal and professionally installed tires on our vehicles, and enabled the realization of the entire donation."

With a commendable donation, Vulkal and Nokian raised the level of safety and provided optimal support to the bravest Croatian rescuers who, thanks to top-quality tires, will now rush even more urgently and reliably to help those who need it most.

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