Emergency! Personal Locator Beacons?
   

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Emergency! Personal Locator Beacons?

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  • Personal locator beacon work in heavy timber
  • Gme personal locator beacon forum

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    11-23-2011, 11:04 AM
  #1
Foal
Emergency! Personal Locator Beacons?

Having recently experienced a serious "wreck" on horseback in the backcountry which resulted in my sustaining seven-(7) broken ribs - some of them were multiple breaks - the question arose as to how would I have gotten help if I had not been able to physically crawl and walk back to camp? I have been researching Personal Locator Beacons (PLB) and would appreciate input from anyone who has on-hand and on-the-trail experience with them.
     
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    11-23-2011, 11:15 AM
  #2
Showing
You can also be located by carrying a hand held GPS or cellphone with GPS capability. They work on the same principle.
     
    11-23-2011, 11:33 AM
  #3
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by Speed Racer    
You can also be located by carrying a hand held GPS or cellphone with GPS capability. They work on the same principle.
Around here the mountains are bad enough that cell phones don't always work to locate someone. There's also a lot of canyons that you just can't get GPS service either. Cell phones do work in the regards they can at least figure out what the last tower was it had contact with and start a search from there.

I don't use a PLB myself but this discussion does come up on a very regular basis in the state as people go missing. All the search and rescue people say get one, they can find you in a hurry if you do. Arguments against: cost and tin foil hat wearers saying they don't want to be tracked by the guvmint. From a purely saftey standpoint, they can't be beat.
     
    11-23-2011, 11:40 AM
  #4
Green Broke
Carry a pack of matches, build a fire, need help faster ? Build a big fire.
How big are these locators and what do they work on? I am familiar with the shipboard ones but they are pretty big. I also imagine as more get on the market more false alarms will be going off causing them to get ignored. I mean when was the last time you saw cops come running at a car alarm ? I guess if someone knows when you left and when you are due back they could get the ball rolling. How about some links to the devices you have researched.
     
    11-23-2011, 12:01 PM
  #5
Weanling
A buddy of mine has the SPOT locator and it's pretty much junk. Both times he has needed it, it hasn't worked for messaging. As far as GPS's not working in canyons or heavy timber, technology has come a long ways, even in the last couple years. I use GPS for tracking my dogs and they rarely lose signal. And when they do, it's not for very long. I can get a signal even in my house. I am talking about hundreds of hours of constant use. I am also a product tester for Garmin. I won't tell you what brand to buy because my experience is limited to Garmin and one megellan dash mount GPS. All I will say is that a quality Garmin GPS will not lose it's signal, unless maybe you're in a cave. I have never lost a signal on my 62 series hand helds. The transmitter collars will occasionally lose a signal when in the dog box but that's about it.
     
    11-23-2011, 01:06 PM
  #6
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe4d    
carry a pack of matches, build a fire, need help faster ? Build a big fire.
How big are these locators and what do they work on? I am familiar with the shipboard ones but they are pretty big. I also imagine as more get on the market more false alarms will be going off causing them to get ignored. I mean when was the last time you saw cops come running at a car alarm ? I guess if someone knows when you left and when you are due back they could get the ball rolling. How about some links to the devices you have researched.
Take a road flare along instead. Unlike matches, the wet doesn't bother it.
     
    11-23-2011, 01:24 PM
  #7
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darrin    
Take a road flare along instead. Unlike matches, the wet doesn't bother it.

Or dip your matches in wax. Then the water won't bother them but they'll still light.
     
    11-23-2011, 02:33 PM
  #8
Trained
I'm still wondering how much I would feel like building a fire with several broken ribs

Don't skiers have to wear some sort of device so you can find them after the avalanche? I don't know if they would work, or if they are to close range.
     
    11-23-2011, 02:42 PM
  #9
Yearling
Years ago, I came off a horse who had stumbled into a bog, As the horse thrashed to get free it stepped on my chest breaking two ribs. I had to get back on the horse ( wet and covered in mud) and ride two hours back to my truck and then I had a two drive home before I could go see a doc. It was an absolutely miserable experience. Even if I had been able to use a cell phone and call for help. I'll bet rescue workers would have taken at least as long if not longer to find and retrieve me. Sometimes you just have to cowboy up and take care of your self.

This summer we had a fellow come from Austrialia to hike the Highline trail across the Uintas Wilderness. BearKiller knows the area also. He carried both a PLB and a Cell phone. He got lost and was never located. Search and rescue looked for him for more than 3 weeks and never found him. So carrying these devices doesnt guarantee that you will be found or rescued. They suspect, what ever got him, happened so fast, he had no chance to use the devices. A snow cornice colapse burried him under snow. Crossing a fast moving river and loose your footing and drown. It may be years before somebody stumbles across his remains and determine what happened to him.

Sometimes when accidents happen, You don't have the time or ability to use these high tech devices. A good friend of mine went for a ride on a sunny February afternoon. His horse slipped in some mud, My friend broke his pelvis and ruptured his bladder as he slammed into the saddle horn as the horse went down. Once on the ground, he was never able to get back to his feet. Even though his horse stayed with him. His cell phone didn't work, because he was behind a ridge that shielded him from the tower. About 9pm that night his wife got worried and called the sheriff who came looking for him. They flew by him with a helocopter several times, but never spoted him or his horse. Finally 14 hours after he got hurt, Searchers on ATV's found him laying ont he trail in 16 temps. It took another two hours to get him into a life flight helocopter and rescued to a hospital.

Point is we have chosen a hobby that has the possibility of getting hurt. Each rider will need to access the area he rides and choose for himself the risk that he is willing to accept. Having these devices is better than not having them, But often times having others with you is a much better option. I do ride alone, probably shouldn't, But it is a risk I take and I at least let my wife know where I'm going and when to expect me home.

Some of the placs I ride are 40 miles from the nearest town, Cell signals don't work in a lot of places.


GPS and SPOT signals will probably reach down into the canyons, But cell signals will never reach into places like this.
gunslinger likes this.
     
    11-23-2011, 02:52 PM
  #10
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golden Horse    
I'm still wondering how much I would feel like building a fire with several broken ribs

Don't skiers have to wear some sort of device so you can find them after the avalanche? I don't know if they would work, or if they are to close range.
Avy beacons are only good if A) your friends know how to use them and B) you have it turned on and C) your buried or playing marko polo

They only pick the flux if you are 50m away (I think the new ortovox is 80m) from the person/ beacon your trying to find. They then count you down to where the person is, but still if it's a deep burial then that is a whole heap of other issues. But you still need a start point for a search, last seen point or following cues (skis, glove, some over point of clothing equipment).you gotta get close enough to get it to work.

With the spot, we had a major incident here in 2008. The survivors activated it and the signal goes to Dallas Tx first then up to the RCMP who then call PEP and then RCMP call SAR, who then had to call members. There was 45 minute delay between Dallas calling the RCMP. If that incident wasn't as bad as it was, maybe we could have brought more home alive, maybe not.

If it was a major bleed on a hike or ride accident then that 45 minutes has taken a HUGE chunk out of the golden hour. Good weather, we can't get a heli up and manned in that time frame. I wish things moved quicker, but it doesn't.
     

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