If you require assistance on the hill call 999 or 112 and ask for Police and Mountain Rescue.
Mobile phone reception in the Highlands can often be intermittent or non-existent. If you are involved in an incident on the hill and need to call assistance but cannot make voice calls, there may be enough signal to send a text message. You can contact the 999 emergency services using a text from your mobile only if you have already registered with the emergency SMS text service. Register now: don't wait for an emergency.
To register, text the word 'register' to 999. You will get a reply, and should then follow the instructions you are sent. This will only take approximately two minutes of your time and could save your life.
Mountaineering Scotland has combined with the Mountain Rescue Scotland to publish this aide memoire for emergency procedures in the event of an incident.
If all other forms of communication fail, the internationally recognised emergency signals are six blasts on the whistle or six torch flashes repeated every minute.
A PLB is primarily a life-saving device, similar in size to a mobile phone, which radios a distress signal to orbiting weather satellites. Once triggered, the PLB will alert the emergency services to your exact location. Satellite technology ensures that PLBs are a more reliable way of calling for help than mobile phone, as they only need a clear view of the sky, unlike a mobile phone which relies on a signal from a land-based transmitter. PLBs do not require an annual subscription, but they do need to be registered in the UK. There is no charge for this service and details are provided at the time of purchase.
The SPOT is designed to be a messenger first and foremost, so it is much smaller and has more options for communicating than a PLB. It is not just an emergency device. SPOT uses different satellite systems to PLBs and some rugged terrain can interfere with SPOT transmissions. SPOT users must have an annual service plan or they do not function. A SPOT has the flexibility to send several different messages. For example, it can send a grid reference, so your family can track your progress on a multi-day trip, or an SOS to alert the emergency services to your location.