Rega – Swiss Air-Rescue

The Rega app

Rega’s emergency app has proved its worth in thousands of missions and enables us day after day to come to the aid of people in distress as swiftly as possible. 

With the Rega app, you can alert the Rega Operations Centre with a single swipe and your position coordinates are automatically transmitted. This can save valuable time in an emergency. The free Rega app can be used both in Switzerland and abroad. In addition to the position coordinates, the personal details stored in the Rega app are transmitted to Rega and a telephone connection is set up with the Operations Centre. After speaking with the person raising the alarm, Rega will initiate a rescue operation.

In order for the app’s location feature to work, the GPS signal must be activated in the smartphone settings. Important: The Rega app can only be used to raise the alarm if there is adequate mobile network coverage.   

The key features of the Rega app at a glance:

Alert Rega

You can alert the Rega Operations Centre with a single swipe and your position coordinates are automatically transmitted. This can save valuable time in an emergency. 

Practise for an emergency with the test alarm

The Rega app also has a test alarm to allow you to practise for an emergency.  

Share position with Rega

Share your position coordinates in the background with Rega – so that in an emergency, a rescue can be carried out as efficiently as possible . This feature transmits the location of the smartphone to the Rega Operations Centre at regular intervals. If a search operation is necessary, Rega’s flight coordinators can access the database and ascertain the last known position of the smartphone. 

Share position with contacts

Share your position coordinates with friends and family – for example, when you are out on a hike. The selected persons are sent a link enabling them to access a map displaying your current position. As soon as the app user disables the feature, the data is automatically deleted.

This additional feature is available exclusively to Rega patrons.

Monitor activity

The Rega app can also monitor your activity – such as when you are out and about on your own. Users can specify up to three emergency contacts, who will be automatically notified by means of a voice message if the app user is unable to acknowledge an automatic confirmation request on their smartphone or does not move for a certain period of time.

This additional feature is exclusively reserved for use by Rega patrons.

Download the Rega app for your iPhone or Android smartphone.

 

Questions and answers on the subject of Rega App

Select the subject area for answers to frequently asked questions and further information.

I have a question about the Rega app that isn't answered in the «Frequently Asked Questions». How should I proceed?

The best way is to contact us via our contact form. We would then be pleased to answer any questions you may have.

Why can’t I store an emergency contact with a foreign mobile phone number?

Only Swiss and Liechtenstein mobile phone numbers can be stored as emergency contacts in the Rega app. In order for the «Monitor activity» and «Acknowledgement» features to be used successfully, the emergency contacts provided must be able to receive an SMS and the automatic check call. Only thus can they respond swiftly and find out if the app user is OK. We cannot guarantee that this process will function smoothly using international mobile phone numbers.

I can't update my old smartphone any more, but it still has an old version of the Rega app installed on it. Does the alarm feature still work?

Yes, you can continue to use the alarm feature as before.

I enjoy hiking in the mountains and am often in Alpine areas close to the Swiss border. How should I proceed in an emergency? Can I also call out Rega from areas bordering on Switzerland? And is this possible using the «I need help from abroad» feature on the Rega app?

Basically speaking, Rega does not fly emergency medical assistance directly to accident sites outside Switzerland. This is the responsibility of the appropriate rescue organisations in the country concerned. There are certain cases where Rega responds to emergencies in areas close to the Swiss border; however, it is then explicitly called out by the local rescue services responsible.

If you find yourself in an emergency situation and are not sure on which side of the Swiss border you are, we recommend that you first contact Rega, either by calling the emergency number 1414 or by using the «I need help in Switzerland» feature on your Rega app. This is particularly advisable if your location is difficult to reach due to rough terrain, if the approach route is too long for emergency services on the ground to get to you quickly, or if you think that the severity of the injury or illness requires a rescue helicopter to be called out.

If, on the other hand, you are sure that you are outside Swiss territory, we recommend that you call the European emergency number 112 or the number 911. Alternatively, you can find out in advance the relevant emergency number for the country in question (for example, by consulting a travel guide) and then call that number. Experience has shown that this is the quickest way to deal with emergencies beyond the Swiss border, particularly if the appropriate regional rescue services need to ask you for detailed information about the accident site and the local weather conditions. In the event that Rega does need to be called out, the regional alarm centre will pass on the case to us.

Fundamentally, the Rega app feature, «I need help from abroad», is not intended for raising the alarm in the event of an acute emergency abroad. It much rather comes into its own when Rega is asked to repatriate severely ill or injured patients from another country back to Switzerland. In such cases, the patient has generally already been hospitalised. With the aid of the data provided by the Rega app, our medical consultants can discuss the case with the doctors on location and make the appropriate arrangements for the patient to be flown back to Switzerland.

I'm deaf and therefore cannot make voice calls over telephone. How can I contact Rega in the event of an emergency?

Generally our flight coordinators want to speak to the person who is raising the alarm. However, in the case of people who are deaf or hearing impaired, we recommend the following:

Download the Rega app onto your iPhone or Android smartphone. You can find further information here.

In the Rega app, select «Profile», then in the field marked «Family name», enter your family name, as well as the words «deaf, via SMS» in brackets. Important: Only enter this information (deaf, via SMS) under «Family name»; this field is always transmitted to the Rega Operations Centre.

You should also ensure that your own mobile phone number is entered correctly in the field, «Phone number of this device».

In in the event of an emergency, you can alert Rega via the app. Thanks to the data transmitted, the Rega Operations Centre is informed that you are deaf or hearing impaired and will contact you by SMS and also request further information about the emergency by SMS.

Does the Rega app also work when I only have very poor reception or even none at all?

In order for an alarm call to be initiated, at least a minimal connection with a mobile phone network is necessary. In the complete absence of any network coverage, it is not possible to raise the alarm and thus it is also not possible to contact the Operations Centre by telephone.

If reception is poor and no data network is available, the Rega app transmits the coordinates by SMS. However, in this case, too, a rescue will only be organised after the Operations Centre has been contacted.

If due to a lack of adequate network coverage, you are not able to acknowledge the confirmation request by the «Monitor activity» feature via the app, the procedure with the check call followed by the automated voice message to your contacts will be initiated. If you are subsequently able to receive and respond to the check call, the voice message to the emergency contacts will not be sent.

What happens when I initiate the test alarm?

The test alarm is a one-way connection check; consequently, it does not initiate an emergency call at our Operations Centre. As soon as the test alarm has been successfully transmitted, you will receive an automatic voice message. We will also send you a confirmation by SMS.

What happens if none of my designated emergency contacts reacts to the voice message?

If none of the designated emergency contacts reacts to the message, the Rega Operations Centre will automatically be informed.

What should my emergency contacts do when they receive the voice message?

Provided that a Rega patron has entered one or more emergency contacts in the Rega app, these individuals will be automatically notified of this by SMS. If they are contacted by Rega, the emergency contact will receive a phone call with an automated message requesting them to investigate the well-being of the app user. If they do not succeed in doing so, and there is good reason to suspect an emergency situation, they can then alert Rega by calling the emergency number 1414.

What happens if I am not able to acknowledge the regular monitoring of my activity («Acknowledgement» feature) in time due to poor network coverage?

If you are not able to acknowledge the confirmation request via the app due to poor or no network coverage, the procedure with the check call followed by the automated voice message to your contacts will be initiated. If you are subsequently able to receive and respond to the check call, the voice message to the emergency contacts will not be sent.

What happens if I forget to disable the «Monitor activity» feature and my mobile phone is left lying in the same place for 10 minutes?

If the «Monitor activity» feature is not disabled after ending a tour or other outdoor activity, first of all an automatic check call is sent to your smartphone. If you fail to respond, the specified emergency contacts will be notified in the order in which they are listed.

How long does my position data remain visible after I have disabled the feature, «Share position with contacts»?

The position data is immediately deleted when the «Share position with contacts» is disabled.

Who can see and track my position when I share it via the Rega app?

The only people who can follow your movements are those who have received the corresponding link from the Rega app.

How long is my position data stored for?

Rega basically stores your data for a maximum of 60 days. If a rescue mission is necessary, the relevant data is retained together with the mission data. The provisions laid down in Rega's General data protection statement of Rega apply.

With the «Share position with Rega» feature, at what time intervals is my current location transmitted to Rega?

An algorithm defines the intervals between the transfer of data, depending on such factors as the distance covered and the time taken to do so.

What is the difference between «Share position with Rega» and «Share position with contacts»?

The feature, «Share position with Rega», periodically transmits your current position to Rega’s Operations Centre. This position data can only be seen by Rega in the event of an emergency. The feature can be permanently activated. Rega recommends that you always enable this feature when pursuing an activity outside in rough terrain.

The feature, «Share position with contacts», allows selected contact persons to track your movements in the web browser. The feature is only active for a certain amount of time or can be manually disabled by the app user.

Why are some of the new features reserved exclusively for patrons?

Rega is a non-profit foundation that receives over 60 percent of its funding from voluntary financial contributions by its patrons. With the additional features such as «Share position with contacts» and «Monitor activity», Rega would like to thank its patrons for their invaluable support.

The basic features of the app – in other words, raising the alarm, testing the alarm, and the new feature, «Share position with Rega» – are available to all app users.

I'm a Rega patron. How do I enable the additional features?

1. Download the Rega app for iPhone or Android or update your Rega app to the new version 2.0.

2. Open the Rega app on your smartphone.

3. Click on «Configure now» and follow the instructions.

4. Activate the additional features for patrons: in the app, select the menu option, «Patron», at the bottom of the screen.

5. Select «Patron login» and enter your personal patronage number (7- or 8- digit number) and the area code of your home address.

What do I need to watch out for with smartphones with a dual SIM function?

The Rega app cannot support the various dual SIM functions for technical reasons. Whenever you use the Rega app, please ensure that your SIM card is inserted in slot 1.

Why does the Rega app not work on older operating systems?

The app is largely based on new technologies which are no longer supported by older operating systems. Whether older devices support it or not is determined by the manufacturer. To install our app on Android you currently need Android 6.0 or higher. The functionality with Apple devices depends on the model (all compatible Apple devices can be found under this link) and the operating system - at least iOS 10.3.

I would like to use the Rega app in another language. How do I do this?

The language in which the Rega app is displayed depends on the language setting on your device. We support the languages German, French, Italian and English. If your smartphone is set to a language other than these, the Rega app will automatically default to English.

Therefore, you can use the German, French, Italian or English version of the Rega app simply by enabling the appropriate language setting on your device.

You can change the language on your smartphone under “Settings”.

Why am I not able to use all the Rega app functions on my tablet?

When the alarm is raised using the Rega app, a telephone connection is set up with Rega’s Operations Centre. This takes place via the mobile phone network. However, most tablets do not allow calls over the mobile network; consequently, the alarm function does not work on these devices.

Do I have to enter all my personal data under «Profile» in order for the Rega app to work?

The data that you enter is very helpful for our Operations Centre – but it is not essential to be able to use the alarm feature. However, we recommend that you at least enter your mobile phone number.

The additional features, «Share position with contacts» and «Monitor activity», are reserved exclusively for Rega patrons. In order to use them, you need to click in the app on «Patrons», enter your patronage number and area code, and verify your mobile phone number.

I can't find the Rega app in my app store under the keyword, «Rega». Why is that?

Perhaps your mobile phone is linked with a store abroad – for example, if you gave a foreign address when you registered in the store. The Rega app is not available in foreign stores because it was developed and tested for use with the Swiss mobile phone network and is not able to cover all the roaming possibilities.

In order to be able to nevertheless download the app for your mobile phone, you need to open a separate account in the Swiss app store. For this, you will require a Swiss address (the address of your hotel or holiday apartment will suffice) and a Swiss means of payment (Swiss credit card or a voucher card purchased in Switzerland).

However, you should be aware that Rega has not performed any tests with mobile phones operating over foreign providers, so you should be sure to test the app by using the test alarm feature.

Why do I need to verify my telephone number?

This enables us to check whether the number entered really is the correct one for the smartphone on which the various features have been enabled. In the event of an emergency, a correct phone number is vital for a rescue to be performed as efficiently as possible.

Why do I have to enable «Location Services» separately on my iPhone if I want to use the additional features?

The app requires special authorisation to access the «Location Services» function so that, even in the background, the additional features such as «Share position» can transfer data to the Operations Centre.

For which operating systems is the Rega app available?

The Rega app is available for iOS and Android and can be downloaded free of charge from the corresponding app store. In order to ensure that the app works perfectly at all times and can fulfil its purpose, we are forced for technical reasons to adapt it to the current devices and operating systems. This means that some older operating systems and devices are no longer supported. To install our app on Android you currently need Android 6.0 or higher. The functionality with Apple devices depends on the model (all compatible Apple devices can be found under this link) and the operating system - at least iOS 10.3.

However, if no Rega app is available for your mobile phone, the Rega Operations Centre has another way of locating you when you raise the alarm. In order to pinpoint the precise position of a smartphone owner, they are sent an SMS containing a link. By opening this link, the recipient can then transmit their coordinates to the Operations Centre via a mobile website.

The prerequisites for this procedure are a data-capable smartphone with GPS receiver and sufficient network coverage. In addition, “Location Services” needs to be enabled both in the phone settings and in Internet Explorer. In the case of smartphones with a foreign SIM card, data roaming also needs to be activated.

In what way is the Rega app different to standard GPS devices?

When the alarm is raised using the Rega app, the coordinates of the caller’s current position are transmitted directly to Rega’s Operations Centre. The flight coordinator sees this position directly on the map on their screen, and can thus mobilise the necessary rescue services more quickly. The automatic transfer of data also prevents errors from occurring, which might otherwise arise when giving coordinates verbally in a stress situation.

In addition, the Rega app indicates the battery level of the mobile phone. In certain circumstances, this can be important for determining the way in which the Operations Centre and the person raising the alarm subsequently communicate with each other. Personal details about the caller – such as language spoken, name and age – are also transmitted to the Operations Centre when the alarm is initiated, provided that these are already stored in the app.

Does using the Rega app incur additional costs?

Like many other apps, the Rega app uses a mobile data connection to perform certain functions (e.g. displaying the map, downloading more detailed information or raising the alarm). Depending on your contract with your mobile phone provider, this may result in certain charges being payable.

When you initiate a test alarm, a telephone connection is set up with a Swiss landline number and you will hear an automated voice message confirming that the test has been successful. This call lasts approximately 10–12 seconds. Whether and how much you are charged for this depends on your mobile phone contract and whether you are in Switzerland or abroad.

What basic features does the Rega app offer?
  • Alerts Rega in an emergency by automatically transmitting your position coordinates to the Rega Operations Centre – from within Switzerland or from abroad.
  • Test alarm to check that the alarm feature is functioning properly and to practise what to do in an emergency.
  • Detailed map information from Swisstopo, displaying your current position in all standard coordinate systems.
  • Useful information about raising the alarm, first aid, and air transports on behalf of mountain farmers.
What additional features does the Rega app offer (from January 2019)?
  • Installation: After downloading, when opening the Rega app for the first time, the app user is instructed in a few simple steps to enter their personal data and to configure the app so that it functions properly in the event of an emergency. It is still possible to raise the alarm using the app even if it has not been configured.
  • Share position with Rega: Provided that it has been enabled by the app user, this feature shares the position coordinates of the smartphone to the Rega Operations Centre at regular intervals so that in an emergency a rescue can be carried out as efficiently as possible. If a search operation is necessary, Rega’s mission coordinators can access the database and ascertain the last known position of the smartphone. The position data is used solely in connection with a search operation.
  • Share position with contacts: With this feature, app users can share their position coordinates – for example, when they are out on a hike – with friends and family. The selected persons are sent a link enabling them to access a map displaying the smartphone’s current position. As soon as the app user disables the feature, the data is automatically deleted. This additional feature is available exclusively to Rega patrons.
  • Monitor activity: The Rega app can also monitor the user’s activity – such as when they are out and about on their own. Users can specify up to three emergency contacts, who will be automatically notified by means of a voice message if the app user is unable to acknowledge an automatic confirmation request on their smartphone or does not move for a certain period of time. For this to be possible, the user needs to enable the «Monitor activity» feature. This additional feature is exclusively reserved for use by Rega patrons.
  • Additional map material from Swisstopo (summer, winter and 3D map), which helps you to plan a hike or tour.



Video explaining how the Rega app works

The Rega app's location feature doesn't work or is not very accurate. What could be the reason for this?

First, «Location Services» needs to be enabled in your phone settings. To ensure that this feature will work reliably in an emergency, it is advisable to use it regularly. If you are, for example, inside a building or a cave, the GPS signal of your mobile phone cannot be received. If possible, you should change your location and initiate the alarm outside in the open air.

Is the Rega app suitable for safeguarding employees working alone?

No, the Rega app was not developed in accordance with the legal provisions governing emergency call systems for people working alone. There are specially designed solutions on the market, such as safety apps or hardware-based devices, which should meet the statutory requirements relating to lone worker safety laid down by FCOS (Federal Coordination Commission for Occupational Safety) or Suva (Swiss National Accident Insurance Fund).

Can I also use the «Share position» feature abroad?

Yes, but in order to transmit your position coordinates to the Rega Operations Centre or your designated contacts, the Rega app requires a mobile data connection. Depending on your contract with your mobile phone provider, this could incur costs.

Can I also use the «Monitor activity» feature abroad?

Yes. However, if you have enabled the «Monitor activity» feature and you do not respond to the acknowledgement request, an automatic check call will be sent to your smartphone. This check call originates from a Swiss number and so, depending on your mobile phone contract, may give rise to roaming costs.