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Discussion Forum - Gear ! - Personal locator beacons

Author: Tony Willey
Posted: Sun 18th May 2008, 21:45
Joined: 1989
Local Group: Lakeland
Grough have a pretty comprehensive summary of the issue on their website;-
and a report on a recent incident:-
Author: Tony Willey
Posted: Sat 10th May 2008, 16:21
Joined: 1989
Local Group: Lakeland
Here is a campaign site with some information on PLBs.
Author: MIke Rayner
Posted: Sat 10th May 2008, 15:02
Joined: 1983
How big,heavy and expensive are they?

Seems to me that a idiot will cause chaos whatever aid to communication they have available and that if someone's lost it would be quicker and safer for all concerned if the emergency services knew where exactly where they were.

Presumably sailors occasionally let these things off by mistake without the world coming to an end.
Author: Anne Wade
Posted: Fri 9th May 2008, 21:28
Joined: 1994
Local Group: Heart of England
I think that these would be a nightmare and even worse than mobile phones. At least with a mobile there is a chance of two-way communication. I ban mobiles on D of E expeditions; otherwise they are too quick to use them when they could sort a problem out by themselves.

What I would really like is some sort of cheap tracking device that I could attach to students in my D of E groups!
Author: Peter Haslam
Posted: Fri 9th May 2008, 19:41
Joined: 1992
Local Group: East Lancashire
I assume the sea going type are activated by immersion in sea water.
How would a land based system work? If switch activated they would need a concious person to switch it on, not much use if a fall renders the walker unconcious. Also, a manually operated switch would be prone to accidental activation causing, as you say even more headaches for rescue volunteers.

That's my 2ps worth. Any more comments?
Author: Ian Koszalinski
Posted: Fri 9th May 2008, 19:41
Joined: 2004
Local Group: High Peak
i think it's too open to mis use on land, we already hear of people who phone the rescue services because they need a lift down because they are late for an appointment not because they are in trouble, and the majority of people who don't carry essential equipment and get lost wouldn't think to carry one anyway.

However i'm sure on some scout organised challenges it would be part of the kit check
Author: Tony Willey
Posted: Fri 9th May 2008, 19:23
Joined: 1989
Local Group: Lakeland
Personal locator beacons are satellite based devices used at sea tob pinpoint and locate locate "man overboard". Their use on land in the UK is currently illegal. There is an active lobby to change the law and legalise their use. This subject is being considered by the Inland Consultative Committee of the Search & Rescue Operaters Group, of which the LDWA is a member.
Is legalisation a good thing? Would they be a valuable rescue aid where there is no mobile phone signal? Would false alarms make life even more of a nightmare for Mountain Rescue teams, or an aid to them with suitable registration procedures? Would they further encourage people to get themselves into dangerous situations without the necessary skills and equipment?
What do you think?

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