The Croatian Mountain Rescue Service (Hrvatska gorska služba spašavanja – HGSS) is a volunteer, not-for-profit and public organisation. It is specialised in rescuing in mountains, on rock faces, in caves and other unapproachable places where rescuing requires application of special mountain-rescue skills and equipment. The Croatian Mountain Rescue Service has safeguarded citizens and visitors in Croatia since 1950, 24 hours-a-day and 365 days-a-year. Croatian Mountain Rescue Service – has been established 1950 as a internal service of the Croatian Mountaineering Association – today, Croatian Mountain Rescue Service is a public service that has been caring for safety of people in general (only a relatively small number of persons rescued are members of the mountaineering organizations) – Croatian Mountain Rescue Service is a member of the international association of mountain rescue services IKAR-CISA
Legal ground for its acting: Croatian Mountain Rescue Service operations are stipulated by the Protection and Rescue Act (in Croatian) and the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service Act (in Croatian), the latter one passed in the Croatian Parliament on 30 June, 2006. The task: Croatian Mountain Rescue Service is specialised in rescuing from rugged terrains and in difficult weather conditions, that is in any situation requiring special rescuing skills and equipment. This includes accidents in mountain regions, rocks, caves, steep and other rugged terrains, as well as accidents that occur in particularly bad weather conditions (snow, cold, ice, fog, etc.). Often, the areas of the HGSS’s activity are urban communities and other non-mountain areas as well. This includes missions performed on high buildings, in tunnels and pipelines, in traffic accidents and at the sea, as well as related to various extreme sports (paragliding, mountain biking, rafting, etc.). Other important activities of the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service, besides rescuing and administering of first aid to people injured in rugged areas, are education and prevention, that is, preventing and avoiding of accidents in rugged areas, especially of mountaineering related accidents. HGSS also safeguards all mayor skiing resorts in Croatia: Sljeme, Bjelolasica, Platak, etc. HGSS cares about safety at mountain biking races, sport climbing competitions, extreme sport events, etc. Who are the mountain rescuers Croatian Mountain Rescue Service gathers the fittest Croatian rock climbers, speleologists, mountaineers and skiers, specially trained in administering of first aid and in all mountain rescue techniques, including helicopter-aided rescuing and search parties in rugged terrain involving the use of rescue dogs. Croatian Mountain Rescue Service has around 500 members, including 25 medical doctors and 12 instructors.
Acting and cooperation Croatian Mountain Rescue Service is a not-for-profit organisation. Its members’ activities are voluntary, they are not paid for their work. Croatian Mountain Rescue Service cooperates closely with other services dealing with rescuing of people, such as first aid providers, army, navy, police, fire brigades, etc. Rescue funding Croatian Mountain Rescue Service and its members do not charge their rescue missions. Rescue is free for any rescued person. Rescue missions Croatian Mountain Rescue Service has 60 years of experience and achievements (over 5000 rescues, all of them successful, faultless and safe). Rescue missions always lessened unfavourable effects of the accident and the injury, decreased the resulting disability and expedited the recovery of the injured persons, in many cases, often in dramatic conditions, saving the very human lives. Knowing they have done something like this is the greatest reward to mountain rescuers for their efforts.