Commemorations

Oscar Bernhard, Zeichnung 53, 1891. Kulturarchiv Samedan.

Alpine Rescue Service.

Safety in the mountains became an important theme as more and more tourists came to the high mountains after 1850. Since the middle of the 19th century, mountaineers have climbed, descended slopes and hiked on mountain paths or glaciers.

The number of accidents also rose sharply. However, organised mountain rescue did not exist In Engadin it was the doctor Oscar Bernhard (1861-1939) from Samedan who recognised the need for action. He campaigned for the establishment of an Alpine rescue service.

In 1891 he was the first to organise a first aid course. For this purpose he made 55 instruction panels, some with coloured drawings. They show first aid measures in the event of accidents in the mountains and the transport of injured people.

The educational panels and the course were a great success and it was the beginning of professional mountain rescue, now 130 years ago. (Source: D. Lardelli, ‘Pionier der Bergrettung’, in Piz Magazin für das Engadin, Winter 2018/2019, pp. 173-175, Scuol, 2019).