When walking away from roads and settlements in our Tasmanian wilderness, the risks of injury or illness must be covered. Mobile phone coverage does not necessarily extend into some remote areas and, even where it does, if a person takes a tumble or becomes sick then s/he may not know the precise location of the place where they are. Therefore, potential rescuers may not be able to locate the sufferer. In addition, our Tasmanian bush can be so dense that someone walking 10 metres away won’t necessarily see or hear you; therefore an alternative more reliable technology is needed.
The internet offers many different types of useful technology.
The Personal Locator Beacon which I purchased locally in Hobart is a SPOT GEN 3 Satellite GPS Messenger. It has the essential S.O.S. function plus my SPOT offers tracking with a Google Maps interface, regular check-in messages to friends elsewhere, and a Help option where a friend or other personal contact can be alerted to come and provide assistance in a non-critical non-life threatening situation. The lightweight SPOT weighs a tiny 114 grams, is a tiny pocket-sized unit and ruggedly constructed.
Once purchased, I registered my SPOT via an online connection so that in the event of my pressing the S.O.S option and needing urgent medical assistance, the GEOS International Emergency Support Coordination Centre will be able to respond. Once activated, they will get in touch with my key contact to determine if s/he knows additional information such as where I have walked from and where I am walking to (I guess that is just in case I don’t obey the important rule of staying where I am when I activate the beacon). My location coordinates and any other information are then provided to local response teams in whatever country or state is appropriate.
This is an expensive piece of technology including the registration charge. However buying it is like buying car or house insurance. You buy it hoping you never need to use it.