Personal Locator Beacons

Posted by Jo Verheijen on December 05, 2017

 

 
sing or Activating a Distress Beacon

 

Why use a distress beacon?

Distress beacons save lives - they are designed to provide your approximate location to the appropriate Rescue Coordination Centre so rescuers can be sent to assist people in distress.

In some cases the carrying of a distress beacon can be mandated under law e.g. Aircraft registered in NZ are required by the Civil Aviation Authority to carry an ELT.

Top


When should I use a distress beacon?

Distress beacons should only be used when there is a threat of grave an imminent danger.  In the event of an emergency, communication should first be attempted with others using radios and other signaling devices.  

Mobile phones can also be used, but should not be relied on as an emergency communication device as they may be out of range, have limited battery life, or not be suited to the environment.

A distress beacon is an emergency device to be used when assistance is required to ensure the safety of lives e.g. any life threatening situation or when a serious injury has occurred - it is not a taxi service!

Situations can deteriorate rapidly, however, if you are unsure about when to activate the beacon, it is better to activate it and get help - don't wait until it's too late!

When considering activating your beacon please remember that carrying out a rescue can be extremely dangerous not just for the casualty but for the rescuers as well, particularly if the rescue is carried out at night or in poor weather conditions.  If your situation is not life threatening and you are in a safe and secure position it may be prudent to delay activation of the beacon until daylight or the weather conditions improve.

 

Once an approximate position for the distress beacon has been established then the RCC will locate and task the closest and most suitable rescue asset to render you assistance.  

This may take the form of a LandSAR team, a rescue helicopter, a coastguard unit, a Defence Force asset or in some cases the closest vessel of opportunity.

 
 
What happens when I activate the beacon? 

On activation, your distress beacon will try to locate one of the Cospas-Sarsat satellites.  Once the satellite detects the beacon's signal it will transmit this information to the Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) responsible for the region the beacon has been detected in.  The RCC will then try to establish the exact location of the distress beacon using information from the beacon registration.  They will also phone the contact people you have listed when the beacon was registered.

It is vitally important that the beacon owner keeps the contact details they have listed on their registration up to date as the information these people can provide on your whereabouts can prove vital in establishing your position.

 

Once an approximate position for the distress beacon has been established then the RCC will locate and task the closest and most suitable rescue asset to render you assistance.  

This may take the form of a LandSAR team, a rescue helicopter, a coastguard unit, a Defence Force asset or in some cases the closest vessel of opportunity.

 

What happens when I activate the beacon? 

On activation, your distress beacon will try to locate one of the Cospas-Sarsat satellites.  Once the satellite detects the beacon's signal it will transmit this information to the Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) responsible for the region the beacon has been detected in.  The RCC will then try to establish the exact location of the distress beacon using information from the beacon registration.  They will also phone the contact people you have listed when the beacon was registered.

It is vitally important that the beacon owner keeps the contact details they have listed on their registration up to date as the information these people can provide on your whereabouts can prove vital in establishing your position.

 

It is really important is to stay where you are once you set off your beacon.

 

NZQA
“Fabulous. Made a dry subject interesting and humorous. Engaged well with people. Broke up theory with practical activities. Good use of AV material. James was bright and bubbly and enthusiastic about his topic. He stuck to the main areas of need for a school.”
- Jude,
More Reviews