NFUS and SCAA Relaunch Rural Emergency Initiative

Black Isle Show provides platform for initiative relaunch

A simple – yet potentially life-saving – initiative, designed to help locate ill or injured rural workers in an emergency, was championed by NFU Scotland at the Black Isle Show today (Thursday 3 August).

The scheme, launched in 2014 by NFU Scotland and Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA), encourages farmers, crofters, landowners and other rural workers to adopt an easy-to-use grid reference system which will help define accurately their location when summoning help.

The partnership project responded to statistics which show that those employed in the rural and agricultural industries across Scotland face the greatest danger of accident or mishap of all professions. And when the worst happens in remote and isolated areas, getting help quickly to the right location is of paramount importance.

By carrying a pocket-size card detailing the grid reference of key landmarks on their land which are clearly visible to emergency responders, anyone involved in an accident can pass on an accurate location to emergency services, allowing help to find them easily.

The Saving Time … Saving Lives initiative has already seen hundreds of cards distributed across Scotland and a new reprint of the cards and information leaflet is now available.

The reference point cards - detailing unique landmarks such as lochs, prominent hills, masts, water features, churches, bridges or road features - can be copied and kept in multiple locations by everyone on the farm, including on the farm vehicles, in workers’ pockets or pasted to the back of their mobile phones.

Martin Birse, Highland Regional Chairman for NFU Scotland, said that anything that helped improve the safety of rural workers was to be encouraged and he urged farmers and other land users to make use of the partnership initiative. He commented: “Farming and crofting communities, especially those in more rural and remote areas, rely heavily on the services of responders such as SCAA, and by working together to raise awareness of the importance of the identification of accurate locations, we can hopefully help emergency services locate the casualty quickly.

“I hope farmers, crofters and those working in the industry up and down the country who haven’t filled out a grid card take the time to do so to enable them to have this sort of information available if they ever need to use it. Creating their own unique card of reference points is simple, but can be crucial to allow the emergency services to reach a patient as quickly as possible.”

SCAA Chief Executive David Craig explained that the air ambulance charity responded regularly to rural incidents – many involving agricultural workers.

“Speed in getting help to those ill or injured is paramount and we’re pleased to be working with NFU Scotland and its members to promote a simple system for locating anyone in trouble,” he said.

“The grid reference cards should be an ever-present aid for anyone working in the country and more remote parts of Scotland,” added David, “and I would encourage people to use them. One day this simple system could help save a life.”

Notes to Editors

  • The Saving Time ... Saving Lives leaflet and card are available from SCAA's base at Perth Airport, NFU Scotland offices or online at
  • For further information contact: Maureen Young, SCAA PR/Media Manager on 07778 779 888.
  • Photographs from the relaunch will be available after 12pm on 3 August by emailing


Contact Ruth McClean on 0131 472 4108

Author: Ruth McClean

Date Published:

News Article No.: 111/17

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About The Author

Ruth McClean

Having worked in the communications and journalism industry for the last 11 years, NFU Scotland’s Communications Manager Ruth McClean understands the needs of journalists and has extensive knowledge of the wider agricultural industry. After growing up in Argyll and Bute and working in the area as a reporter for local newspapers for eight years, Ruth joined NFU Scotland in 2013 in her current role. She is also Editor of the Union’s membership magazine the Scottish Farming Leader.

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