What is Norwegian People’s Aid?
Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), or Norsk Folkehjelp in Norwegian, manages, among others, volunteer ambulance services and mountain rescue teams. NPA’s First Aid/Rescue Service is a professional stand-by resource for a wide-range of events and occasions.
NPA is organized into regional divisions, each of which play an important role in local rescue services in cooperation with other emergency services/organizations. The NPA divisions also function independent of other services when terrain/weather conditions require overland rescue operations and/or helicopter ambulances cannot be used.
The Lysefjord’s regional NPA division, Norsk Folkehjelp: Strand og Forsand, has several bases from which it operates and executes mountain rescue operations, including rescue operations at Preikestolen and Kjerag. NPA volunteers do not receive any financial benefit for their effort.
What does NPA do at Preikestolen and Kjerag?
Norsk Folkehjelp: Strand og Forsand includes approximately 100 volunteers who work on a standby-basis, 24/7-every day of the year, and are ready to act if needed. When necessary, the police and regional Emergency Medical Communication Center contact NPA for assistance in helping troubled and/or missing hikers. NPA’s volunteers have versatile skills in search and rescue (SAR) operations are well equipped to act. In acute situations, where air ambulances/rescue helicopters cannot be used, NPA provides ambulance services: a mere 5-minutes after receiving a distress call, a team of 5 to 25 volunteers can be ready for action. The teams usually arrive at the trailhead within 20 minutes of first-contact. After the initial volunteer unit arrives on the scene and provides first aid, additional assisting volunteers are dispatched, if needed.
In 2017, 54 rescue operations were carried out by Norsk Folkehjelp: Strand og Forsand, 40% of which were in the area around Preikestolen.
Why does Outdoorlife Norway support Norsk Folkehjelp: Strand og Forsand?
• Hikers’ safety is our highest priority
• Preikestolen/Kjerag needs an experienced mountain rescue team with quick response times
• Providing life-saving first aid services requires high quality, expensive equipment
• As visitor numbers increase, so will the number of rescue operations and their related expenses
• NPA has a constant need for new recruitment and the training of highly skilled volunteers
How does Outdoorlife Norway support the local mountain rescue team?
Tourism has become an important industry in Norway, including in the Stavanger region and along the Lysefjord. Increasing visitor numbers naturally causes a higher work load for the local mountain rescue teams. Outdoorlife Norway understands the importance of allocating sufficient resources to NPA and other rescue organizations to ensure the safety of visitors hiking to Preikestolen, Kjerag, and other wilderness attractions. We believe that the responsibility of supporting these organizations should fall on both the Norwegian authorities and commercial actors in the tourism industry.
As a serious tourism operator and activity provider, we underline our responsibility by donating 15 NOK per guest to Norsk Folkehjelp: Strand og Forsand. A little goes a long way! Many a little makes a mickle =)
Our contributions are earmarked by NPA for use in rescue operations and other measures to ensure and increase the safety of hikers around the Lysefjord.
Fun Fact =)
One of our guides, Christoffer, is both an emergency medical technician and an active volunteer at Norsk Folkehjelp: Strand og Forsand. As a certified first aid instructor, Christoffer is responsible for training our guides in first aid and in managing out first aid equipment.