Kalymnos, the famous climbing destination, which everybody visits over and over again, had been watched over by a bunch of people who lived on the island and offered their help voluntarily in climbing accidents. In 2013, Kalymnos Rescue Team was formed by many of these people among many more, in order to cover, voluntarily, as better as they can every climbing accident that might occur on the island.
Our main purpose is to aid in any accident concerning climbing or other activities that take place on land and in rough areas that medical care cannot reach easily, as in trekking paths around the island.
To achieve that, the team has directed it’s training into three basic fields: 1) climbing skills 2) rescue techniques 3) first aid skills.
- To promote and cultivate the aspects of mountaineering and climbing into the local community
- To support the touristic product of Kalymnos by offering safety in climbing, the sport that constitutes the main source of tourism on the island
- To offer valuable help and information on safety matters, concerning the development of climbing in Kalymnos
- To keep training new people into climbing, rescue and team work, in order to enhance the team’s dynamics
- To promote team work as well as personal evolvement, on a mental and physical basis
- To exchange knowledge with other rescue groups in Greece and abroad, in order to enhance our experience. Group rescue exercises with other Rescue Organizations are a very important way for the Team to evolve.
- To create and maintain an ecological conscience among the local community and to our visitors
Before 2013, rescue in Kalymnos was performed by individuals that lived on the island, as a personal offer. At the same time, there also were some attempts to create something more organized, like a first aid seminar by the Prefecture of Kalymnos and the Greek Cardiological Society, along with a climbing course to some locals from Aris theodoropoulos. The first Rescue Team was then formed, its members were financially supported by the Prefecture and they were assisted by those who were already doing the job (Claude Idoux, Simon Montmory, Loucas Dourdourekas, etc). The funding lasted for 6 months and that was the life span of that attempt. Additionally, there was a fund by Glaros Bar, together with Claude Idoux, local opener and the Team’s vice-President now, to raise money for rescue equipment.
In 2013 Alexandros Istatkof, a local climber and the Team’s President at the moment, together with Kalliope Tsagari, owner of Alternet, active in the tourism industry, had the idea to create an organized group of volunteers, in a form of an association, who will be trained to be rescuers. This came as a necessity, as there is no official state body in Kalymnos that can cover climbing accidents and a rescue from the climbing sectors is beyond the skills of the medical crew of the Kalymnos Hospital.
Kalliope Tsagari supported ethically and financially the formation of the Team in its first steps, by covering any expenses needed and by creating the Alternet Rescue Card, a card that offered discounts in various businesses in Kalymnos while gathering money for the Rescue Team, as a standard percentage of each card went to the Team’s budget.
The idea of a Rescue Team in Kalymnos was instantly adopted also by another businesswoman in Kalymnos, Sofia Lagoudi, owner of Wildsport climbing shop. Wildsport became the basic sponsor of the team in terms of rescue equipment, as all the technical gear used in trainings and in actual rescue, were offered by Mrs Lagoudi.
Consequently, Kalymnos Rescue Team was founded, counting 20 other local people who believed in this project and became founding members.
Presently, the Team consists of 25 people, climbers and non-climbers and within it, a sub-team, the technical crew, with trained members in rope rescue techniques and first aid.
Alexandros Istatkof President
Claude Idoux Vice President
Xanthippi Geraki Secretary
Vasillis Vallas Treasurer
Michalis Gerakios Member
Panagiotis Prekas Member
Loukas Dourdourekas Member
The Team is divided into two sub groups…
They aid in any way they can in a rescue, or in the Team organization aspects.
Trained members in rescue and first aid. This team consists of very experienced climbers and mountaineers but also of inexperienced members that found in the Rescue Team a really good motivation to evolve their climbing skills and keep training to reach a good level. The technical team tries to train constantly, to add experience in its dynamics, and our goal is to learn from the best in the Rescue field, like Organizations in countries with great mountaineering history and high mountains.