Karkonosze Mountain Rescue Service, GK GOPR

The Karkonosze Mountain Rescue Service, GOPR

The Karkonosze Mountain Rescue Service, GOPR The GOPR General Conference (Zarz±d Główny GOPR) is the main congress of mountain rescue service providers in Poland. It is comprised of representatives from seven regional mountain rescue services, one of which is the Karkonosze Mountain Rescue Service. The GOPR General Conference has been associated with International Commission for Alpine Rescue (IKAR-CISA) organisational structures since 1968.

The activity of the Polish mountain rescue service in the Sudety Mts. has been conducted since 1952 when the Sudety Mountain Rescue Service (SOPR) was established. Unfortunately, due to changes in Poland's administrative division, this activity was abolished in 1976. Instead, two territorially-distinct groups have been created for the region of Lower Silesia: the Karkonosze Mountain Rescue Service (GK GOPR) and the Wałbrzych-Kłodzko Mountain Rescue Service (G W-K GOPR), both of which remain in existence to this day.

GK GOPR's response area is the western range of the Sudety Mountains (in the Lower Silesia region) which comprises the Karkonosze Mountains, the Izerskie Mountains, the Rudawy Janowickie Mountains the Kaczawskie Mountains and the Lubawka Hills.

GOPR is a partially-volunteer, non-profit-making organisation with ten highly-skilled professionals employed in full-time positions as mountain rescuers operating in the Karkonosze Mountains. They prepare, train for and execute the proper tasks of the rescue service.

Rescuers maintain and manage eleven rescue posts near the main tourist and ski centres. GK GOPR utilises standardised mountaineering equipment (with the UIAA label), a wide variety of multipurpose stretchers and splints, medical equipment, portable radio sets (Motorola), avalanche gear, Land Rover Ambulances, All Terrain Vehicles (ATV - Honda TRX), snowmobiles and ©koda Octavia 4x4s. In particular circumstances a search-and-rescue helicopter is also available thanks to cooperation with Polish Medical Air Rescue. In addition, each member of the GK GOPR possesses his or her own personal equipment, for instance climbing gear for use during a rescue.

Our mission is supported by one hundred forty-one volunteers and thirty-two recruits, the latter of whom graduate to become full GOPR members after two to five years of probation, training and special examinations. Rescuers are trained in the following areas:

  1. Emergency Mountain Medicine
  2. Terrestrial Rescue in snow and snow-free conditions
  3. Avalanche Rescue
  4. Cave Rescue
  5. Air Rescue and casualties evacuation in snow and snow-free conditions
  6. Evacuation from chair and ski lifts.

Each rescuer is obliged to pass the exam positively to be assigned for duties in the rescue post located in the mountains. Moreover each one is obliged to participate in various types of trainings and to improve medical knowledge.

Mountain Accidents Statistics (1952-2004)

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Polish-English translation by:
mgr Blanka Myszkowska