Your alone in the mountains, away from cell service, and you need help…fast.
Thank goodness you planned ahead and have the SPOT X 2 Way Satellite Messenger with you.
I have been planning and researching a lot these days on Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) and Satellite Messengers, which I prefer to call Emergency Satellite Messengers (ESMs). These are great emergency locators that we should all have on our packs but my thoughts have been taking me elsewhere, besides just being able to notify family and friends back home or rescue teams.
Most of the time, I go hiking or backpacking with a group and how many of you can answer correctly how many people in our group has an emergency locator with them. Of course the answer is almost always none of them. I want to change this and have our hiking team be prepared for anything. Hopefully we won’t need help, but we may be able to provide help to another fellow hiker.
So, planning ahead means that you and Your Team need to be able to communicate with others if an emergency should ever arise.
Planning ahead shouldn’t be just about YOU. Your entire team needs to be prepared.
How many times does your hiking team split up to visit different areas of interest, especially on an extended day hike? It happens a lot. At least half of my backpacking trips have ended up in teams of two or three choosing to explore different areas.
Have you ever asked what would happen in only one person on the team has an emergency locator and you are not all together. You may go half the day or the entire day before you realized something was wrong and you needed to start searching for your missing teammates.
Lately, I have been thinking a lot about having a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) or an Emergency Satellite Messenger (ESM) that cannot message or maybe you have an ESM that can message 1-way, which is great, but will that help you if your team only has 1-way messaging capabilities when there are others close by that could provide immediate help, long before a search and rescue team arrives?
First Responders | Your Team
Everyone thinks of first responders as being rescue services who reach the scene first, but this needs not be the case out in the wilderness.
The First Responders should be your own backpacking team but how will that work when you are outside of cell service and can’t communicate with each other?
You may not want to hear this but it’s important to have more then one ESM on your team. I know, this costs money and many times we’re doing everything possible to even get to go on the trip and now I’m recommending you spend several hundred dollars more?
YES, I am telling you that is exactly what you should do!
My team normally consists of my son and daughter, two nephews, several friends, and sometimes co-workers. Most of the time our backpacking team ends up having 4 or 5 people for the trip.
I’m not saying that every person on the team should have an ESM, but that would be good. I recommend that you should have at least two ESMs so if your team splits up, both smaller teams will have at least one ESM and be able to communicate with the other team.
It seems like I have always struggled with not having enough money and most of the people on my hiking teams typically have less money then me so you have to be creative when finding ways to handle emergencies.
I have personally decided to purchase two Emergency Satellite Messengers (ESMs) that can communicate 2-way with each other so when family and friends do join me on an outdoor adventure, I will be able to provide our team with the emergency communication devices we need.
I understand the financial constraints most of us have but I have also been in some close calls in my life and see the absolute importance of being able to place an S.O.S. distress call in a life-threatening emergency.
My specific plan is to purchase two (2) SPOT X 2 Way Satellite Messengers. I will have one for myself and one for another experienced hiker. If our group decides to split up then the two hikers with ESMs, will be in different groups, so our teams will always be able to communicate in cases of an emergency….and for the really awesome scenery that we often experience, so we can tell the other group that you need to come here and check this out!
The choice is clear for me. What about you?
What About You?
Will you head off on your outdoor adventure, knowing that everything will turn out perfectly, or will you begin thinking ahead and planning for the unthinkable?
This can be a tough financial decision but it is an easy decision to make.
I have seen my son and nephew almost get bitten by a rattlesnake and a water moccasin and I know I would have been devastated if a simple call for help could have saved their lives.
So, what will you do?
Your Field Test
Well, you decided to invest in an ESM and are ready to set off on your exciting new outdoor adventure…but WAIT!
You need to field test your ESMs. I’m not just talking about setting up your account and adding custom messages or putting contacts in your device or checking to see if you’re getting good reception and your tracking is working.
I’m talking about knowing everything there is to know about your ESM. You may have to make several trips on shorter hikes to work out the bugs.
I remember when I bought my SPOT Gen3, I had to make 3 field tests before I knew exactly how it all worked and that my contacts were receiving the messages.
Take the time to test your ESMs, especially if you buy more then one so that you can communicate with each other. Do your devices need unique phone numbers or have to have information entered precisely? Do you have devices by different manufactures and do you know if they will communicate with each other.
I have recently heard from a customer sales representative that one manufacturer allows communications with others, but it doesn’t happen the other way around. I cannot confirm this yet, but I will soon and will write about it, but you need to ask yourself these questions and know what your capabilities and limitations are on your adventure.
The Bottom Line
Be prepared (with the SPOT X 2 Way Satellite Messenger) and test your equipment thoroughly before heading off on that incredible adventure or your adventure may have an incredibly unhappy ending.
- Message- exchange messages with any cell phone number or email address from virtually anywhere in the world
- S. O. S. - send an S. O. S. To the 24/7 search & rescue center, message back and forth about the nature of your emergency, and receive confirmation when help is on the way
- Tracking- Select from 21/2, 5, 10, 30 or 60 minute tracking intervals, and let family, friends and other Adventurers follow your progress with SPOT easy-to-use google maps interface
- Check in - quickly and easily let everyone know you're ok
- Post to social- Link your social accounts to keep your friends and family in the know wherever you go
- Service agreement required.
I would love to hear your thoughts or other preparation tips if you would like to share them here. Leave a Comment Below or send me an Email and I will reply quickly.
I hope you take advantage of any outdoor activity you can find. Some of the greatest memories are made together in the great outdoors.
Your Outdoor Friend,
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