There is nothing worse than being in an emergency situation while enjoying a camping, hiking or kayaking trip. The ability to send a distress signal or call for help can mean the difference between panicking and escaping unharmed. For times when you are in trouble and there’s no one around to come to your aid, satellite messengers and personal location devices can ensure you have a safe outdoor experience.
Satellite messengers are good for establishing communication in an emergency, while a personal beacon locator can be used by emergency services to track your location and signal for help with just a press on an alert button.
How Does a Personal Locator Beacon Work?
If you love the outdoors, whether it’s hiking, climbing, or canoeing around the world, you need to know about the Personal Locator Beacon (PLBs). These devices are designed to be a last resort if you find yourself in a situation where your life is at risk and you can’t call for help. They are usually carried by people who are heading into remote areas and know that they can’t always rely on their phone or other communications technology to get them out of trouble.
PLBs are a great tool for helping to ensure your safety in the backcountry. They are simple, reliable, and easy to use. PLBs use the same technology as EPIRBs (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons), but they are designed to be carried by an individual instead of being permanently attached to a vessel.
When activated, personal locator beacons transmit a coded message on the 406 MHz distress frequency which includes the beacon ID and GPS coordinates. Unlike many other emergency locators, PLBs do not require line-of-sight operation with a satellite in order to work. This makes them more reliable than other emergency locator units that rely on satellites.
The signal from a PLB is relayed via satellite to Search and Rescue authorities who then respond to the emergency location.
Why Should You Invest in One?
Personal locator beacons are designed to send out distress signals with one press of a button, making them easy and simple to use. By using satellite technology, PLBs can help rescuers pinpoint your location faster, leading to a quicker rescue. Countless stories of people saved by PLBs prove the importance and benefits of carrying one with you on your adventure! When deciding whether or not to take a PLB on your next expedition, we recommend giving it strong consideration.
How Can You Use Your Personal Locator Beacon?
A personal locator beacon (PLB) is a device that, when activated, transmits an emergency signal to a satellite in geosynchronous orbit which in turn relays the signal to the appropriate search and rescue authorities. The device is battery powered and will continue transmitting the signal for 24-48 hours after activation, giving search and rescue teams time to locate you.
The PLB will be registered to its owner and when activated, will transmit your location including longitude and latitude coordinates, along with any personal information that may have been provided. This is invaluable information for search and rescue teams as they begin to search for you.
You should register your PLB with either the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or the appropriate authority in your country of residence. If you’re a resident of Australia, this is AMSA.
Most PLB’s are waterproof and can be attached to a backpack or life jacket, depending on their use. There is also an emergency position indicating radio beacons (EPIRBs), designed exclusively for marine use.
Here Are Some Things You Should Keep in Mind About the Beacon
One of the most important things you should know about PLBs is that they need to have a direct line of sight to the sky in order for the emergency signal to be transmitted. If you are in a vehicle or under a cover, this could mean that the signal does not reach the search and rescue satellite.
You can rent and borrow personal locator beacons as well as purchase them. As mentioned above, to make sure your PLB is registered with the relevant search and rescue authorities, you will need to fill out a registration form.
The registration asks you to provide information about your trip, where you’re going, where you’ll stay, and the contact details of your family members and emergency contacts. All this information can be accessed if you send out a distress signal, allowing the authorities to first try your contacts and determine if you need help. If not, it can be used to track you and provide you with the right support that you need.
To Sum Up
The emergency personal rescue beacon is designed to save lives. They are signalling devices made use of by many hikers, hunters, fishermen and other outdoor enthusiasts who want their friends and family to know that they are in trouble. This device is a must-carry for most outdoor enthusiasts because it functions both as a signalling device and as a deadly accurate navigational tool, making it easy for rescue personnel to find you even in places where cell phone connections are not available.