Calling for help in the mountains (or anywhere an ambulance can’t get to) – Calling the emergency services is becoming easier – the area not covered by any network is getting smaller every day, but black spots are still common and being able to send text where signal is poor is very handy.
So, before I go any further, I want you to get your phone out and register for the 999 text service. Simply send a text with the word ‘Register’ to 999 and follow the instructions they send back. You can now contact the emergency services via text. Do it now. It’s worth pointing out that if you are in a position to call 999 then do so – it’s quicker than text! Now, I am surprised at how many people I meet when out in the hills that don’t actually know how to summon help if they are unfortunate enough to require it for whatever reason or even what information to give or to whom. Ultimately, you need Mountain rescue – they are the only people who can initiate a rescue in the hills but you cannot call them directly. When you call 999 you get through to a call centre, a central switchboard where the three options are Fire, Ambulance or Police. You need to request the Police, you will then be put through to the police so you shouldn’t waste time telling this initial person what the matter is or location information. When you are connected to the police you need to request Mountain rescue. Location, location, location Once you’ve established what service you require you need to give as much information as possible about your location. They might ask for a postcode which is about as much use as chocolate teapot, in which case give them the grid reference of your location, including the map letters (eg SH123 321). They will then pass your information to the relevant rescue team (based on the location info you give) who will be in contact with you (assuming you have signal).