Like Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee this year it was also the 70th anniversary of the REGA and on Friday, 17th June on a very hot day 15 of us paid a visit to their REGA base situated at Locarno airport.
We started with a good coffee on the terrace of the little airport restaurant which always starts the day well.
We were then taken to the REGA headquarters where in an air-conditioned meeting room the PR of REGA, Mr. Giancarlo Pellegrini, explained the history and current logistics in the service of saving human lives.
He also gave details of the REGA App for our smart telephones.
The emergency app has proved its worth in thousands of missions – a tap of the finger is all it takes to initiate an alarm call and it automatically transmits the location to the REGA operations centre in Zurich.
Last year REGA came to the aid of more than 12,000 patients and organized some 18,000 missions.
Nearly a quarter of all helicopter missions take place at night which is itself is a very challenging task for the crews.
REGA does not receive subsidies of any kind, its members (at present 3.6 million) finance it by 60% paying membership fees, the remaining 40% is covered by insurance.
We were also able to see one of their rescue helicopters permanently based and Mr. Pellegrini explained all the particularities of this marvel of technology – a jewel worth 15 million swiss francs!!!
While we were there an emergency call came through and we witnessed the departure of the apparatus, an exciting moment, although of course we realised that someone, somewhere was in serious trouble.
A most interesting and well-prepared two-hour visit.
www.rega.ch is the site to view for more information.
We then lunched together in Giubiasco at our usual restaurant ‘la Tureta’.
All in all a very pleasant and interesting day and for this we cordially thank Penny Osti and Beverly Ortelli for organising it.