Mountain Rescue in Switzerland
The number 144 is used throughout Switzerland as the principal emergency number. The majority of cantons (areas or districts) run their emergency departments as part of public services, however, the Valais is one of only two cantons where the emergency services control centre is entirely a private organisation.
The Rescue Organisation for the Canton of Valais (OCVS) based in Sierre is in charge 13 sub-regions (including the Verbier area) required to cope with the special topographical conditions and microclimate arising from the fertile agricultural plain of the Rhone Valley bordered by high mountains.
Along with ambulance drivers, paramedics and doctors they also have highly trained rescue experts including: guardians of Alpine huts, climbers, guides, glacier patrol (for mountain conditions), dog handlers (avalanches) and speleologists (underground caving).
How to pay
Rescue and helicopter evacuation can be expensive in Switzerland so it is essential that you have the appropriate insurance. Check with your insurance company that they cover the particular sports you are wanting to do, and that they cover helicopter rescue.
Who to call
144 is the number to call in any emergency situation.
Free to download, my144 is an App for all users of the iPhone. Should you require the emergency services, all you have to do is press the red button which connects you directly to the 144 emergency services. At the same time it transmits your present GPS coordinates, enabling the emergency personnel to pinpoint your exact location.