With "iRega", Rega is launching a free iPhone application that, besides calling out a rescue helicopter, also transmits the caller's current position. This means that in the event of an emergency, whether within Switzerland or beyond the national borders, valuable time can be saved. Last weekend, this new application was successfully put into action for the first time.
Whenever the Rega Operations Centre receives an emergency call, the first thing the flight coordinator asks is the exact whereabouts of the caller. However, this information is not always readily available and further clarification needs to be made – while in the meantime vital minutes are ticking away. The new “iRega” iPhone application solves this problem and facilitates the alert procedure.
“iRega” can be used in the event of an emergency both within Switzerland and abroad. Two finger clicks is all it takes to initiate the alarm. At the same time, the coordinates, together with the user’s personal data already stored in the application, are automatically transmitted to Rega and a telephone connection is set up with the Operations Centre. After speaking to the person who has raised the alarm, Rega initiates the rescue.
First emergency call using "iRega"
Last Saturday, the new application was used for the first time to request emergency assistance in the Furka region. A snowshoe trekker had injured himself, and his friend called out a rescue helicopter via “iRega”. The network coverage in the area was very poor, and consequently it would have been very difficult to alert Rega and pinpoint the exact location of the accident solely by telephone.
Thanks to “iRega”, the exact coordinates of the person making the emergency call were swiftly transmitted to the Rega Operations Centre by SMS. Although it was possible to briefly establish voice contact, this was very problematic due to the poor reception. However, the information provided by the application was sufficient to guide the rescue helicopter to the precise accident site. The injured person was subsequently recovered using the rescue hoist.
A test alarm to practise for a real-life emergency
“iRega” can only be used if the Location Services function is enabled on the iPhone settings. Furthermore, the iPhone must be equipped with a SIM card and be able to receive the appropriate signal (GPS, WLAN, mobile phone network).
In order to practise for a real-life emergency, “iRega” also operates a test alarm system. In addition, the application features a map function, which displays the caller’s current position or the coordinates of any location on the map in various formats. The services offered by this free application also includes useful tips about how to proceed in the case of a medical emergency within Switzerland or abroad, as well as the possibility to register as a Rega patron directly by iPhone.