Saturday, 31 December 2011

Happy New Year, support the Rescue Units!

Remember this uniform. People in it are made of awesome.

The Rescue Unit, or Björgunarsveit, is an association of volunteers that help out others for free. The conditions are that you're in grave danger, however, so if it's just a broken windshield you can help yourself thankyoubye. They'll reserve their services for people that f.ex. wander off on glaciers alone and get stuck there (a note for those who'd like to try that: it's not worth it - the last person to do that was found eventually but alas, too late), get lost on the highlands or are in trouble at sea. 

It doesn't end there. They also volunteer for international catastrophes, like in the above photo from Haiti. In short they're all around awesome folk and sacrifice their time and trouble just to go climbing mountains and glaciers and suchlike in horrible weather conditions at any time of the day and for as long as it takes. You may already notice I'm sort of stressing that this is all free of charge sans payments like, seriously, you won't end up paying money even if you cause the danger to yourself yourself. 
(EDIT: this has now changed a little: if you decidedly break rules and end up in trouble you will have to pay for your own rescue. Don't go driving off road where it's forbidden, don't wander alone on glaciers, don't go do things that are specifically banned, it might become costly!)

Yet without money the system cannot run, especially such a well-conditioned system as theirs.

There are many ways to show your support. One example is the above little keychain. It comes with a different character every year and some people like my bf collect them. Donations are also a possibility, as well as joining the troops yourself, but what makes the Rescue Units linked so tightly with the New Year is

...fireworks. Not only do they sell them but yesterday they had fireworks' shows all around Reykjavík if I'm not badly mistaken. I'm making this assumption based on people's FB statuses from yesterday and the fact that there seemed to be at least one in Mjódd, the shopping centre near our place. I cannot think of a better way of advertising their collection and IMO this year looked pretty epic, telling by the little I saw from the kitchen window! At this point it may need saying that Icelanders love their fireworks just as much as they love their Rescue Units, and so buy for their money's worth and more, oh they do. I still remember last year, the whole valley below was covered in such thick cloud of gunpowder smoke I couldn't see across it anymore... but hey, it's for a good cause! 

So just in case you'll ever end up spending your New Year in Iceland, do join in! :D

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