Alpine distress signal

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The alpine emergency signal is an emergency signal in the event of a mountain emergency, an emergency in alpine terrain. There are also special emergency numbers with which mountain rescue services can be alerted by telephone .

The alpine emergency signal

The alpine emergency signal consists of an optical and / or acoustic signal of any kind, which is sent six times within a minute. It should be repeated in the same sequence after a one-minute break, as long as there is a prospect of being noticed by other mountaineers , by mountain huts or in the valley.

The answer to such a signal is given with three characters per minute and repeated after a one-minute break. This allows the alerting party to be confirmed that their distress signal has been received.

Signal and answer
1st minute 2nd minute 3rd minute 4th minute etc.
Distress signal • • • • • • Break • • • • • • Break etc.
Answer / confirmation • • • Break • • • Break etc.

• = Optical and / or acoustic signals of any kind:

Anyone who receives emergency signals should confirm them and forward the alert to the mountain rescue service or other agencies such as the police or rescue service.


The alpine emergency signal was introduced in 1894 at the suggestion of the Englishman Clinton Thomas Dent and soon proved itself internationally. This agreement tries to do justice to the extreme, changeable and only partially foreseeable situations in exposed surroundings in alpine terrain.

Emergency numbers

In Europe, the standardized European emergency number 112 can be used, which can also be dialed with a mobile phone .

Due to regulation "967/08" of the German Federal Council, since December 17, 2008, emergency calls are no longer possible without an activated SIM card. The call can be set up via all accessible cellular networks , not just via the home network. In Austria, 140 is designated as a special emergency number for mountain rescue. In other countries or regions there are also emergency numbers specifically for alerting the mountain rescue service , while the alerting is sometimes via central civil defense institutions .

country Emergency number Explanation
Flag of Austria.svg Austria 140 Mountain rescue emergency number
Flag of Switzerland.svg Switzerland 1414 Swiss Air Rescue
144 Mountain rescue
Flag of Italy.svg Italy & South Tyrol 112 State emergency call center and operations center of the mountain rescue service
Flag of France.svg France 15th Central emergency call of the Chamonix rescue coordination center Peloton de gendarmerie de haute montagne (PGHM)
Flag of Slovenia.svg Slovenia 112 Mountain Rescue Service Gorska reševalna služba (GRS)
Flag of Croatia.svg Croatia 112 Croatian Mountain Rescue Service Hrvatska Gorska Služba Spašavanja (HGSS). Alerting via the constantly manned alarm center Županijski Centar 112 of the civil defense Državna Uprava za Zaštitu i Spašavanje DUZS

Emergency call by radio

For emergency call by radio, see the section Emergency radio in Article emergency .

country frequency CTCSS
Flag of Switzerland.svg Switzerland 161.300 MHz 123 Hz


Deliberately or knowingly sending an unjustified emergency call or other emergency signals constitutes a criminal offense in Germany ( Section 145 StGB ). The perpetrator may be liable for damages .

The abuse is punished similarly in other countries, for example in Switzerland according to Art. 128 to 1 StGB .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Ordinance on emergency calls (NotrufV) on the Federal Council's website, accessed on February 25, 2020
  2. ^ Austrian Alpine Club, emergency card for club members
  3. Useful phone numbers. In: South Tyrolean Citizens' Network .