After a recent incident on one of our walks, members have kindly sent in a few suggestions of services that might help in an emergency and I’d like to share these suggestions here, along with a few of my own.
Consider carrying an ICE card (In case of emergency card) giving details of any medical issues and emergency contact numbers. There are many websites that offer templates for these cards and suggestions for what to include, just search online for ICE card templates or contact the group for an example of one. Keep the card in the outside pocket of your rucksack or coat.
On some mobile phones you can put your emergency contact number on the front screen of your phone so that your phone does not have to be unlocked to call your emergency contact person and some phones will alert your emergency contact number when you have called the emergency services and give your location. Whether you can do this will depend on your phone model so you’ll need to check instructions for your particular phone.
There is a system available that allows you to send a text if the phone signal is too weak. It was originally set up for people who are hard of hearing or have speech impairments but the system can be used by others. You do need to pre-register. Details here: www.emergencysms.net
A grid reference could help the emergency services find you if you are in an isolated location. There are phone apps which can give your location as a Grid reference. GridReferenceFreeOS is one app that has been suggested but there are others including Ordnance Survey. Check out the app store on your phone for a suitable one.
This video, suggested by one of our members, shows how 112 is a useful alternative to dialling 999 from a mobile especially if travelling abroad. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPZv_8dABfU
Defibrillators: Find out where the local ones are. Bedwyn’s are located outside the village hall to the left-hand side, and outside the surgery in Church St, also to the left of the building. Look for the yellow boxes. 999 operators will help you find and access the machines. If necessary they will advise you but the machines speak for themselves and will tell you what to do when opened. Our local surgery regularly runs sessions to familiarise people in the use of defibrillators so ask at the surgery if you are interested in these.
A lot of the suggestions above rely on a phone (and a phone signal!) and of course this is no substitute for a good map so I’d suggest that you always carry one with you too when out walking to help direct any services to your location. If walking with a group, please tell the leader or backmarker if you wish to leave the group to walk ahead or behind the group. The leader will be carrying maps, first aid kits etc to help you if necessary but can only do so if they know where you are!
First Aid courses are offered by many services. Always worth doing one whenever you have the opportunity to learn or refresh your skills, or have a look online for videos demonstrating what to do in an emergency. Some very useful ones here from British Heart Foundation: https://www.bhf.org.uk/how-you-can-help/how-to-save-a-life/how-to-do-cpr/cpr-training-videos
Hopefully you will never need to use any of the above but best to be prepared, especially if walking alone or in remote areas. As our amazing group of walkers showed, the more people that can help in any way possible in an emergency, the better the outcome. Safe walking!