Generally conventional Search & Rescue methods take much longer and may or may not lead to the successful recovery of the person.
Increase your chances of being rescued. For a nominal hire cost the beacons will provide peace of mind for users and their families and will increase the chances of a successful rescue in an emergency situation.
The Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) is small enough not to be a hindrance, it floats and is water proof to one metre and built tough to with stand NZ tramping conditions.
The PLB pouch can strap to your belt or pack and in the event of an emergency is easily activated by the user.
The transmitted signal contains the GPS co-ordinates which are re-transmitted by COSPAS-SARSAT satellites to the nearest Local User Terminal (LUT) then to Wellington Rescue Co-ordination Centre (RCC).The beacon transmits on 406 mHz to the satellite and on 121.5 mHz for local DF tracking.
If the beacon has not been returned by the user on or before the “panic date”, the trust will attempt to contact the user or their family to confirm if they are indeed overdue.
If the beacon is activated or the user is overdue, Search & Rescue is notified.
Search Helicopters can be fitted with Direction Finding equipment (DF) capable of locating the beacon if it has been activated.
The batteries in these beacons provide power for 24 hours when activated and cost $400 to replace. The shelf life unactivated is about five years. As we own about 40 of these we need to build up a fund to ensure that battery replacement can be done as required.
Always register your beacon. It is a legal requirement. Register it a www.beacons.org.nz
- Don’t test the beacon too often, once a month is sufficient. Most of the beacons on the market have either a 5 or 7 year battery life , however testing does shorten the battery life
- Check the battery expiry date
- Only turn the beacon ON when it is an EMERGENCY.
- Being too tired or having a blister is not a life and death situation
- If you have cell phone coverage – use your cell phone first.
- Carry the beacon on your person NOT in your pack , so in a pocket or belt pouch
- Once activated DON’T MOVE , it is much harder to track a mobile beacon
- Most beacons are designed for the aerial to be in a vertical position
- Find open ground, away from a bluff or overhang, so that the beacon can find the satellites.
- Rescue time can be as quick as 1or 2 hours or take up to 48 hours , all depending upon the weather and your location
- If you do activate the beacon accidentally, phone the Rescue Coordination Centre 0508 472269 or 0508 4RCCNZ and advise them that help is not required. They will then instruct you that it is OK to turn off your beacon.
- If you are unable to make contact with RCCNZ then contact can be made with one of the below agencies and they will forward the information on:
-NZ Police call 111
-Maritime Operations Centre via marine radio on VHF channel 16