In the Western Cape, and in the whole of South Africa for that matter, wilderness search and rescue services are free of charge. So we urge everyone not to hesitate to call for help rather then trying to ‘rescue themselves’ in order to avoid a hefty fee and become a casualty while doing so.
The Important Number: 021 937 0300
This is the only number required when you experience an emergency anywhere in the entire Western Cape, even elsewhere if you have no other number. Use it only in a genuine emergency. This number reaches Metro Control directly, with the least time wasted. You can phone them for any other emergency as well (lost hikers, people needing assistance in the mountains, on the beaches, etc.)
1. ESTABLISH WHETHER YOU HAVE TELEPHONE COMMUNICATION AT YOUR LOCATION
If not you will need to dispatch a party to the nearest cell phone reception area or other telephone and follow these guidelines. (If a cell phone, make sure it is adequately charged)
2. GATHER THE INFORMATION REQUIRED
- What type of incident:
- off road/wilderness/mountain
- emergency or accident
(this will speed up the response- they will immediately know how and with what they have to respond)
- The number of people involved and the type and severity of injuries if any (e.g. “one male, head/neck injury” – short and to the point.)
- Your location, place name, area, briefly and to the point
- Provide GPS co-ordinates for your position if possible (make sure you are clear regarding the format)
3. NOW MAKE THE CALL: 021 937 0300
Speak clearly and calmly, stay rational.
Tell the operator:
- your name and the reason for your call
- Type of Emergency, Patient details if injuries present
- The number you are calling from and whether you are far away from the patient.
You will be guided through questions by the operator. Answer any further questions e.g. about your location details, how to get there and the condition of the patient.
Follow these guidelines will enable the rescue authorities to respond rapidly and correctly, even fly in if conditions allow … and possibly save a life. You are welcome to print this page and put it in your backpack.