How to Call for Help
Having decided you need help, and have the necessary information to hand, how exactly do you do it? Take a look at this video for starters...
Call 999 (or 112)
At the most basic level, if you have a mobile phone
and it has a signal, phone 999 (or 112), ask for the police
and relay information as requested. If appropriate, the police will contact mountain rescue, who will probably call you right back (see important notes in mobile phone
If injuries have been sustained by a group member, the police should still be the emergency service of choice and not
initially the Ambulance Service; this will ensure that the necessary actions and notifications are taken. This is because the Ambulance Service are equipped to reach urban locations, so if you're away from the road by much distance the Ambulance Service will need co-ordination of other rescue resources, which is initially organised by the police.
In the UK, 999 and 112 do the same thing, with 112 being the European standard for requesting emergency services. There is an urban myth that 112 is better than 999. They are the same. Read more here
If your mobile has no signal, you could try to move around or gain height in at attempt to find a signal. However, there will be times when you will not be able to get a signal, following section summarises the full range of alternative communication methods
available, together with some tips relating to mobile phones.
Whistle & Shout
Part of your essential kit is to carry a whistle
. Six blasts, repeated every minute until help arrives. The reply, if heard, is three whistle blows. The same sequence applies to using a torch to attract attention.
Or you could just keep shouting and hope someone hears you, if you have nothing else.
Walking alone clearly has safety issues attached if you need to call for help. If you have no mobile signal you're going to have to rely on more passive communications such as a whistle or torch
to gain someone's attention. These days you can be connected to the emergency services by satellite communication, which is not as outlandish as it may seem. See sections on personal locator beacons
, satellite messengers
and satellite phones
under the emergency communications
There is the issue of whether, in an emergency situation and alone, you are actually capable or in a position to call for help. This is where live tracking could save your life. More under the satellite messengers
section of emergency communications
When walking alone you have a responsibility to yourself and others who may come looking for you, to ensure that your route plans
are with your EPOC
, and better still that you have a fail-safe means of communication in an emergency and/or live tracking
of your route, especially when visiting remote areas where a mobile signal is unlikely.
Further reading on this important subject is contained a blog written by a former police control room inspector with Cumbrian police, reproduced here with kind permission.