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Swiss Air-Rescue Rega, to home page

In constant contact

Rega continually invests in its infrastructure so that the helicopter crews can be reached anytime, anywhere.

Communication is of central importance for every rescue mission. Consequently, in an emergency, Rega’s flight coordinators not only call out the helicopter crews, but also constantly provide them with important information. Good communication is dependent on a reliable infrastructure, as well as specific solutions on the ground, in the rescue helicopter and at the Operations Center.

Countrywide radio network

At the heart of the communication between crews and the Operations Center during ongoing missions is Rega’s own radio network. A total of 42 radio stations distributed throughout the country ensure good radio coverage. Depending on the location, radio may be the only way for the flight coordinators to make contact with a crew. This is important, for example, if a crew are already en route to a mission, but in the air need to be “diverted” to a more urgent incident, such as a resuscitation. In addition, the Rega crews communicate via so-called voice radio with their operation partners on location, such as a piste patroller or a mountain rescuer from the Swiss Alpine Club SAC. Communication within the crew over this channel is also essential – for example, when the emergency flight physician has been set down next to the casualty and is ready for them both to be evacuated on the rescue hoist.

Coordinates via radio into the navigation system

Smaller data packets can also be transmitted via the Rega radio network. The flight coordinators use this to transfer the coordinates of the incident scene directly into the cockpit. This solution was developed especially for Rega and has been proving its worth for many years. In addition, the radio module in the rescue helicopter continuously transmits its current position to the Operations Center via the radio network. Other communication devices are also integrated directly into the cockpit of the rescue helicopters: a mobile network connection, a Polycom radio device for encrypted contact with the ground rescue services, fire service, police and army, and a satellite telephone.

An investment for Switzerland

Rega’s long-term investment in this nationwide infrastructure extends far beyond simply setting up a radio network. The fixed stations need to be maintained and all those involved are required to undergo regular training. Everyone benefits from this investment: anyone with a handheld radio can request help directly from the Rega Operations Center – for instance, in places where there is no mobile phone coverage.

Rega goes to great lengths to ensure that it can contact everyone involved in the rescue mission at all times. When it comes to patients’welfare, all these efforts pay off day after day. After all, only by being able to set up a connection with all the rescue helicopter crews at any time is it possible to immediately transmit an emergency call or important information anywhere in Switzerland or to divert a crew to an even more urgent mission – something that can save lives.

Additional information