We love the outdoors. Whether it’s running, trail running, cycling, mountain biking, cross country skiing, skiing, etc… I’m all about being active and outdoors enjoying nature. However, there is always the risk of accidents. What happens if you break your ankle at the top of the mountain? Who will come to your rescue? Does your insurance cover this risk? A few questions that needs answering so you can go out there and enjoy the beautiful Jura mountains !
Safety first. How to avoid an emergency rescue.
I organise monthly trail running events and I always get the same question: “why do I need all this stuff?” I have a list of things which are necessary for your safety, and most likely to be mandatory during races. This includes backpack, 1l water, food, whistle, safety blanket, head lamp, jacket, phone and appropriate shoes.
Why the blanket when running a trail run in August? Well above 1000m elevation the weather can change pretty quickly. If you’re tired and just broken a bone you will be cold very quickly. What if you dont have cell phone coverage? You might have to wait for hours before you see someone. Hence good to have a blanket, jacket, whistle and some food and water.
Bring a map or have an application that helps you read your location. I use the Swiss Mobility application which is brilliant. Tell someone where you are going as you never know what can happen.
Always wear a helmet. Always. Always. Always. This can save your life as cycling is a very dangerous activity and we have to share the roads with cars (which are not very friendly sometimes!). I also always bring enough food, my phone, some money and even a little jacket in case the weather turns.
Make sure to always have a fully functional bike so ensure to make a service twice a year. Always check tire pressure and quality of your break pads. Clean your bike on a regular basis as this will help to keep it working safely for a longer period of time.
Again : HELMET. Always. It’s not cool not to wear a helmet. What warm clothes and always bring your phone. If you’re doing ski touring let people know where you are going.
Imagine you’re on the top of the mountain running away having a great time. You fall. You break an ankle (or simply twist it) and you cannot move. No ambulance can pick you up as you’re in the wild. So who can rescue you?
As you dial the emergency rescue number (144) they will ask for your location, how you feel, etc… if the situation is critical and you need rescuing they will send a helicopter. That sounds really cool. The problem is that it’s also very expensive and that most of the time it is not part of your insurance. The cost is approximately CHF 1000 per minute. It takes 8min to go from Geneva to La Dôle. 8min to go back to Geneva. That’s CHF 16’0000 that standard insurance cover will NOT cover. Ouch.
The emergency service is organised by the REGA, a non-profit organisation devoted to rescue people in Switzerland. It is not subsidised. It only lives with the patronage and donations from us, the people in Switzerland.
Police emergency switchboard : 112 (like the EU)
Ambulance : 144
Police : 117
Fire department : 118
Rega : 1414
You can find more information on the Switzerland official page here.
The ultimate Swiss emergency rescue service
The REGA is a non-profit foundation that organises the rescuing of people in places that are not accessible for the standard emergency service. Furthermore, if the case is deemed very urgent from the emergency switchboard, the hospital may take the decision to send a helicopter instead of an ambulance.
Why become a patron?
For your safety! You never know what can happen, especially on the top of a mountain whether it’s running, cycling or skiing. By becoming a patron you also support the whole system as accidents might not happen to you, but it will happen to others. Thus supporting the REGA means providing a world class rescue service in Switzerland and repatriation from countries around the world.
How much does it cost?
For individuals it’s only CHF 30 a year ! And only CHF 70 for a family. It’s a no brainer. So don’t take the risk and just become a patron of this amazing organisation.
The REGA has a very good app that one day might save your life or someone else’s life. Download it HERE.