Raising the
alarm in an

We explain how to raise the alarm in an emergency.

What happens when I call
the emergency number 144?

For the Valais cantonal rescue organization KWRO, if someone dials 144 it must be assumed that an emergency has occurred. Everyone reacts differently, but one thing is always the same: emergency = stress = time pressure = mistakes.

The dispatcher at the call-handling center sees only what the caller describes, and depend on the information given so they can deploy the right resources.

In the event of an emergency, whether illness or accident:

  • Assessment of the situation (your OWN safety, remaining risks …)
  • Condition of the patient
  • Act: secure accident site / provide first aid
  • Report: call the emergency number 144, or ask someone else to do so, or
  • Raise the alarm via radio (e-channel), or selcall 21414. Radio call sign for 144 = “VIVA”, or
  • Raise the alarm via the EchoSOS app
  • Describe the situation: precise location/symptoms

This will make sure that the first two links in the rescue chain are guaranteed. But what actually happens when I call 144? The people at the KWRO call-handling center depend on receiving as much information as possible from the person raising the alarm. This is the only way for them to make the right decisions when it comes to rescuing the injured person.

Here is an example of the questions the person raising the alarm will need to answer:

Who is calling? Who is radioing? Who is asking for help?

Here I give my phone number or radio call sign that can currently be used to reach me.

Where is the person who has been in an accident or fallen ill?

Provide the most accurate details of your location as possible! Outside villages or in the mountains, you should ideally give your coordinates. Also helpful are your altitude and/or the length of time you have spent traveling from a particular location.

Tip: You can use the EchoSOS app to transmit your exact location easily to the call handler. Download the app to your phone so you have direct access to it in an emergency. For more information, visit echosos.com.

What happened, and how and when did it occur?

Describe the patient’s condition. What exactly happened? Could it happen again (electricity, rockfall, etc.)? Risk to rescuers! When approximately did it happen?

Will a helicopter be able to fly?

Weather around accident site: Horizon visible? / wind (calm / gusty / stormy) / driving snow. Obstacles around the accident site: cables / air traffic, paragliders, material lying around, etc. Is a rescue winch needed, or is there a possibility for a helicopter to land?


Do you have any more questions? We’ll be happy to help. Contact us:

Heliport Zermatt +41 27 570 70 00
or via email at zermatt@air-zermatt.ch



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