Ofcom, the Government body that oversees communications in the UK, has agreed to ‘roaming’ for emergency calls. This means that when a caller has no signal from their provider, the mobile phone system will switch them to any other provider’s emergency signal if there is one available.
This move will hopefully lead to increased safety on the mountains as it should increase the chances of being able to dial 112 or 999 from your mobile in an emergency. The move of course does not guarantee that you will get a signal as there are areas which are not covered by any operator.
It is however important not to let increased coverage to lead you into a false sense of security and not to follow “traditional” safety advice. Remember that good planning is essential before any trip out into the hills. Make sure you leave both your primary and emergency escape routes with somebody who can raise an alarm if they don’t hear from you, and don’t forget to take all the gear you need to keep yourself safe and secure in the worst conditions.
Lastly don’t forget one of the most reliable devices for raising an alarm in an emergency situation that won’t run out of batteries or break when it gets wet…the trusty emergency whistle The alpine emergency signal is 6 short blasts of a whistle with a 1 minute break and then repeated. The reply is 3 blasts with the same pause.
So remember to prepare for every eventuality when you head off into the mountains as you never know what might happen.