Having started its work as a small group of enthusiasts, today the Mountain Rescue Service is an important unit in the Bulgarian Red Cross structure aimed at reducing the number of accidents in the mountains. During the time of their regular duty hours, the mountain rescuers, all volunteers, render aid to victims of mountain accidents; they carry out complex rescue operations, and transport the victims from places hard to access, to a hospital. The effective preventive work is an important element of the overall rescue activity. The Mountain Rescue Service provides daily information to the central and local media on weather situation in the mountains, this information being of great interest to skiers and tourists. School children are given general knowledge about safe behavior in the mountains.
The Mountain Rescue Service (MRS) was created in November 1933 by members of the Bulgarian Alpine Club, the Bulgarian Mountaineering Union, the Youth Mountaineering Union and the Sofia Ski Club. In 1938 the first "Internal Rules of MRS" were adopted and in 1943 the first badge of the MRS was introduced - a green cross with an edelweiss.
After the War the first mountain rescue teams were created outside the capital - in Samokov, 1948 and Plovdiv, 1949. Following a decision of the Bulgarian Mountaineering Union, the Red Cross, the Sports Federation and the MRS, the latter moved under the auspices of the Bulgarian Red Cross in 1951.
In 1971 the MRS was accepted as a member of the International Commission for Alpine Rescue (IKAR).
During the period 1971-1980 one of the main goals was the modernization of the mountain rescue in Bulgaria. The training of avalanche rescue dogs was initiated in 1974 and the beginning of helicopter rescue was set in 1975
32 rescue teams and 650 volunteers are working in the Mountain Rescue. Using 15 specially trained dogs the rescuers render aid in case of emergency to the victims. 50 paid rescuers work in the MRS for management of the rescue activity, for support of the material equipment, for support 24-hour rescue outposts, etc. They are selected from the ranks of volunteer rescuers and take part in daily operative work.
In the MRS’s staff are also included 58 volunteer physicians. Their role is exceptionally important in giving medical help to injured people in the the mountain - in hard of access places or during the transportation to the hospital. They participate actively in the medical training of their colleagues.Mountain rescuers pass two-year period of basic training to gain a complex experience in Firs Aid, technique and tactic of the mountain rescue, skiing and alpine technique, topography and orientation, basic alpine training, communications, transport technique, other specialized knowledge. Periodically mountain rescuers go through different qualification courses for work in difficult mountain terrain, rocks, avalanches, air rescue operations, rescue dogs training.
Mountain rescue activities are costly. There are a lot of outlay for training and subsequent qualification of the rescuers, for maintenance of the constant readiness of the teams and outposts, for necessary medical and technical equipment, for protective outfit. MRS is supported as far as possible through the BRC from the State, which means that resources are extremely limited and insufficient. Mountain rescuers give their work voluntarily in rescue actions in the mountain, but every operation has its expenses and the victim should undertake them.Since 2000 MRS established "List of kinds of help rendered from the MRS of the BRC to Bulgarian citizens". From the beginning of December 2000 in Bulgaria offers Mountain Health Insurance. This is a good alternative of direct payment and we consider that everyone who could afford the insurance value of 25 BGN which covers 1000 BGN outlay. You could make your insurance in branches of following insurance companies in Bulgaria:"Unica" AD, QBE International, HDI, DZI AD, Bulstrad, Municipal Insurance Company, Generali Ltd.
MRS APPEAL TO ALL BULGARIAN CITIZENS, PRACTICING MOUNTAIN SPORTS AND TOURISM, TO BUY IN TIME MOUNTAIN INSURANCE.
76, James Boucher Blvd., Sofia, Bulgaria
tel./fax: +359 2 81 64 860
Central twenty-four-hour post for emergency situations:
tel. +359 2 963 20 00
Mobile: +359 88 14 70
for information: +359 88 14 71
You could receive more information about MRS from the Web Site of the MRS.