Posted by Dr Michelle Wright
Swiss Emergency Numbers
With La Rentrée in full swing, whether you’re a newcomer to Switzerland or you’ve been here for a while, what better time to check that everyone in your household knows what number to call in a medical emergency.
When I’m delivering First Aid training, it’s surprising to find how many people don’t. In their defence, I must say I have trouble remembering all the different numbers for fire, police, ambulance and mountain rescue services in this country.
What numbers do we need to remember?
It’s the number 144 that gets you straight through to an ambulance in Switzerland. But what if you’re over the border in France or Italy, or you pop to London for the weekend?
The Europe-wide emergency services phone number is 112.
In many cases, this will connect you first to the police, but they should then be able to patch you through to the ambulance service if this is what you need.
Thinking of teaching your kids the emergency number?
A great way for them to remember the Europe-wide emergency number is thinking about the fact they have 1 mouth, 1 nose and 2 eyes, pointing to these as they move up their face!
And still on the subject of emergency numbers, there’s a great smartphone App that I would recommend. It’s echoSOS and it is free to download.
What is echoSOS?
The App has been field tested by the Swiss emergency services and is available for iPhones and Android. It doesn’t just work in Switzerland but also in many other countries throughout the world.
Launch the App and the first thing that will happen is that GPS coordinates from your phone will be used to identify which country you are in. The emergency service numbers for that country are then brought up on your phone screen.
Choose which emergency service you need and press the call button.
Obviously, you need to have your normal conversation with the operator as you would in any emergency call to explain what has happened, who and how many people are involved, what First Aid you have carried out, etc. But if you also tell them, you can be located using EchoSOS.com, they will be able to pinpoint your exact location using the GPS coordinates from your phone.
Can I add other numbers to the screen?
As well as the standard numbers for ambulance, police, fire, and mountain rescue, you can also add emergency numbers to your personal screen that you see when you launch the App. For example, the Tox Info poisoning number 145.
Scroll down on the same screen, and you will see local emergency rooms listed with distances and a map.
Click on the address that appears above your emergency numbers. You will see your GPS coordinates, altitude, and any address nearby.
The website echoSOS.com explains more and has links to where you can find the App to download.
If you use this App you don’t need to remember all the individual phone numbers. You can also communicate your exact location. An absolute must for everyone I believe – and a great one for older kids with phones as well. If you haven’t already, get downloading now.
Find out more and download the App here: https://echosos.com/en/
To help you feel completely prepared in any medical emergency, HealthFirst has a number of courses. Here is the selection we currently have open for registration: