Author Topic: Use a rescue beacon?  (Read 1350 times)

Litehiker

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Use a rescue beacon?
« on: 03:37:37, 25/02/19 »
I live in Nevada, USA and always carry and use my SPOT rescue beacon since I can't often find hunting, backpacking or backcountry skiing partners.


When I say "use" I mean I have the SPOT beacon set to send a signal every 5 minutes so my wife can log onto the SPOT site, enter my PW and see a topo of where I am and dots on the topo showing my progress. I also have 3 pre-set messages such as for the OK button it says "In camp" or for the HELP button, "send the AAA  tow truck to the Deer Creek trailhead parking lot."


Of course the emergency "send teh calvary" button brings a helicopter. Thankfully I have insurance to pay for it if ever needed.


For me the US $120. yearly subscription is cheap insurance and peace of mind. At least they will find my carcass before the coyotes gnaw away too much of it.


Do any of you use a beacon like this?


Eric B.

Pitboot

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Re: Use a rescue beacon?
« Reply #1 on: 06:05:03, 25/02/19 »
Not really required in the English Lake District. And I prefer it if my wife does NOT know where I am.

Owen

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Re: Use a rescue beacon?
« Reply #2 on: 08:35:02, 25/02/19 »
I have an inReach SE similar to the spot, as pitboot says not strictly need in England but handy for the remoter parts of Scotland and Scandinavia. I nearly always walk alone so having the panic button is reassuring.

fernman

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Re: Use a rescue beacon?
« Reply #3 on: 09:41:10, 25/02/19 »
I prefer it if my wife does NOT know where I am.

 ;D O0 Join the club!

Seriously, I don't walk in the popular parts of north Wales where someone's going to come along and find you, I go to the remoter areas where I don't see a soul for days and no-one might walk the same paths (if there are any!) for weeks.
I always imagine that if the worst happens I'll be able to summon up enough effort to make an emergency call on my phone, even if it is in my dying moments.
But then I'll probably find I've got no signal  :(

Deolman

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Re: Use a rescue beacon?
« Reply #4 on: 20:26:02, 25/02/19 »
Not really required in the English Lake District. And I prefer it if my wife does NOT know where I am.


Couldn’t disagree more. Had a 2nd attempt at the C2C. (Completed successfully in 2016) last year. Unfortunately the summer heatwave had just begun. Second day temp was forecast as a high of 27 degrees but rose to over 35 degrees in Ennerdale Valley. I knew I was going to struggle up Loft Beck and asked the Warden at Black Sail if he could give me a lift back to Ennerdale. He refused the request and told me if I wasn’t feeling well to call out the MRT. My only two options were to walk back to Ennerdale and get transport to  Rosthwaite or attempt to get up Loft Beck. As Loft Beck was the shorter of the two options I made an attempt to climb it but heat exhaustion was setting in, it was late afternoon with no one about and there was no mobile phone signal. Without SPOT I could have been in trouble but activating the SOS the MRT reached me within 1.5 hrs. By that time my condition had deteriorated to the point where the  MRT guys insisted on stretchering me out.


Because I used a PLB the MRT knew my exact position and we’re able to get directly to me and the people at Houston Texas were able to keep my daughter up to date with what was happening.  As an aside this was the first time Cockermouth MRT had been called out by a PLB so my rescue even got a mention on BBC Cumbria!




 

sussamb

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Re: Use a rescue beacon?
« Reply #5 on: 20:44:44, 25/02/19 »
Must say if that had been me I'd have returned to Ennerdale.  First it's flatter and second more likely to get help from others rather than have to call out the MRT.  Surprised the warden wouldn't help, in that position I would have.
Where there's a will ...

Deolman

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Re: Use a rescue beacon?
« Reply #6 on: 21:03:50, 25/02/19 »
Ennerdale to Black Sail is about 9 miles so to get back to Ennerdale would mean a total distance of eighteen miles walked. In my current condition I knew I wouldn’t have made it even if it was flat and slightly downhill. Black Sail to Rosthwaite is around 4 miles so being reluctant to want to call out the MRT I decided that was my best option as I felt sure that if I got up Loft Beck I could make it to Rosthwaite.


The Wardens reason for not giving me a lift back down to Ennerdale was that it was a YMCA vehicle and was not insured to take me. I felt this was a bit lame as all I needed was to get to the end of the forest track which, as far as I know, is not a public highway. Interesting that in a blog I read of a family that had got lost near Black Sail a few years ago and after the warden provided them with emergency overnight accommodation he took them to where they could get public transport back to their hotel.

sussamb

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Re: Use a rescue beacon?
« Reply #7 on: 21:44:01, 25/02/19 »
Ennerdale to Black Sail is about 9 miles so to get back to Ennerdale would mean a total distance of eighteen miles walked. In my current condition I knew I wouldn’t have made it even if it was flat and slightly downhill. Black Sail to Rosthwaite is around 4 miles so being reluctant to want to call out the MRT I decided that was my best option as I felt sure that if I got up Loft Beck I could make it to Rosthwaite


True, but the route back to the car park by Bowness Knot is around 5 miles, only a bit further than the walk to Rosthwaite, from where you might have got a lift or been able to summon a taxi.  You'd also have mainly been walking in shade and on the flat rather than exposed to the heat and a climb.  A far safer bail out in my view.
« Last Edit: 21:52:16, 25/02/19 by sussamb »
Where there's a will ...

BuzyG

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Re: Use a rescue beacon?
« Reply #8 on: 21:54:58, 25/02/19 »
I thought about getting an ex services emergency only one years back, for when I was out surfing on my own in the winter storms.  On land in England and Wales I can't see me ever using one.  A great free service in the UK is to register your mobile phone with the emergency SMS.  Signal strength and coverage for this service is better than for speech only.


http://www.emergencysms.net
« Last Edit: 22:17:36, 25/02/19 by BuzyG »

sussamb

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Re: Use a rescue beacon?
« Reply #9 on: 22:10:57, 25/02/19 »
Yep, been mentioned here before but always worth repeating http://www.emergencysms.net
Where there's a will ...

Deolman

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Re: Use a rescue beacon?
« Reply #10 on: 22:22:32, 25/02/19 »

True, but the route back to the car park by Bowness Knot is around 5 miles, only a bit further than the walk to Rosthwaite, from where you might have got a lift or been able to summon a taxi.  You'd also have mainly been walking in shade and on the flat rather than exposed to the heat and a climb.  A far safer bail out in my view.


Easy to plan emergency escapes when you are familiar with an area. In my case I freely admit that I was not aware of a car park at Bowness Knot nor that it was possible to get a decent phone signal (my phone signal became hit and miss when I reached the beginning of Enerdale Water), nor was I aware that you could get public transport from there.  I had contemplated not walking that day because of the heat but the heatwave had only just started and the forecast temperature was a reasonable 27 degrees so felt it was doable, I had already decided not to walk the sections between Rosthwaite and Patterdale but as there was no let up with the heat decided it was too risky to continue after I reached Richmond.  Having ongoing cardiac problems was no doubt a factor with respect to how the extreme heat was having an effect on me. 


However this post is starting to drift away from the main topic “Re:Use a rescue beacon” and my initial response was to show that there are circumstances even in the UK where a PLB may be the only way by which you can summon help in an emergency specially for lone walkers such as myself.

Deolman

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Re: Use a rescue beacon?
« Reply #11 on: 22:41:17, 25/02/19 »
Yep, been mentioned here before but always worth repeating http://www.emergencysms.net


An excellent service but again is only of use if you have a phone signal. An additional problem which I believe is being (or has been) addressed is that the emergency services tend to rely on postcodes and in some areas a grid reference is of little use to them. The SPOT PLB uses GPS satellites to contact the GEOS International Emergency Response Centre in Houston, Texas giving your location Lat/Long. They in turn will alert GEOS IRS in England who then call out the appropriate emergency service for your location. If you do happen to have a mobile phone signal they will contact you in minutes and ascertain what the problem is and will also contact your emergency contact and advise them of the situation.  I had to use it in Wales and both I and my daughter were very impressed with the speed with which they responded. More than I can say for the fiasco of a service provided by the Welsh Ambulance service as they tried to extract me off a field just half a mile from a main road but that’s another story.
« Last Edit: 23:01:11, 25/02/19 by Deolman »

Litehiker

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Re: Use a rescue beacon?
« Reply #12 on: 22:55:11, 25/02/19 »

Thanks for the responses. As you can guess theAmerican west is a place that almost demands one carry a rescue beacon.  And "The Boss" is another one that demands it.  She has greater peace of mind that in the event of my accidental demise in the wilds my body will be found and insurances will be paid promptly. O0

I can see that cell phone coverage in England is very likely OK in most areas but Scotland is a different matter and sea kayakers anywhere along the UK coasts should carry a beacon. Being a belt-and-suspenders guy I also carry a portable marine radio when sea kayaking along the California coast.


FYI, The Garmin InReach beacon is better than SPOT in that it uses the Iridium satellite array which has the best coverage for beacons and sat phones. Maybe I'll sell my SPOT Gen 3 beacon and get the InReach beacon with its limited texting. The house is paid for in April and that frees up a lot of money for "necessities' like new beacons, riflescopes, Dyneema tents, etc.


Eric B.
« Last Edit: 23:30:03, 25/02/19 by Litehiker »

sussamb

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Re: Use a rescue beacon?
« Reply #13 on: 23:00:11, 25/02/19 »

An excellent service but again is only of use if you have a phone signal. An additional problem which I believe is being (or has been) addressed is that the emergency services tend to rely on postcodes and in some areas a grid reference is of little use to them.


Yes but the point is you can often send a text when speech is impossible.  As for postcodes and grid refs, if you're needing MRT help then they understand grids, as indeed do the emergency services here in the South East, can't speak for the rest of the country.
Where there's a will ...

GinAndPlatonic

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Re: Use a rescue beacon?
« Reply #14 on: 02:44:36, 26/02/19 »

 I had to use it in Wales and both I and my daughter were very impressed with the speed with which they responded. More than I can say for the fiasco of a service provided by the Welsh Ambulance service as they tried to extract me off a field just half a mile from a main road but that’s another story.
Just curious as to how many times you have been in a risky situation regarding your safety.?