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Old 18 February 2008, 14:26   #1
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Blatent work related post that will help save lives

Help save lives in the UK by signing the UK government E-Petition to make Personal Location Beacons legal for land rescues. Follow this link to sign the online petition

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Old 18 February 2008, 17:47   #2
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Is this REALLY a good idea? I was in Mountain Recue in the Brecon Beacons for a while and have done a lot of ice climbing etc and I have never really found the need for one. I know mobile phones don't work everywhere but so many idiots get themselves lost or have minor injuries that I reckon they would be going off all the time.

At the moment a party of ramblers get lost in the Beacons and they make sure they get down to somewhere or they will be seriously cold and miserable - there is less incentive for self help with one of these.

Obviously there are occasions when a climber or someone is badly hurt but usually they have a partner and if not they may be too badly injured to activate one anyway!!!

For about the same price they could always carry a sat phone if they needed to........
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Old 18 February 2008, 18:15   #3
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Originally Posted by codprawn View Post
Is this REALLY a good idea? I was in Mountain Recue in the Brecon Beacons for a while and have done a lot of ice climbing etc and I have never really found the need for one.
Have you ever needed rescued? Have you ever found the need for one on your boat - but lots of people carry them at sea.
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I know mobile phones don't work everywhere but so many idiots get themselves lost or have minor injuries that I reckon they would be going off all the time.
in reality those "idiots" won't have a plb with them.

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there is less incentive for self help with one of these.
maybe - but realistically after hitting the "red button" you probably have to wait 2 hours minimum before help arrives. its not an instant "taxi".

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Obviously there are occasions when a climber or someone is badly hurt but usually they have a partner and if not they may be too badly injured to activate one anyway!!!
Yes MAY BE. And if the partner has to leave to get help (by getting to a phone signal or getting to civilisation) then there is no one to care for an injured casualty.

And not just for climbers but also for horse riders, mountain bikers, paragliders or anyone else who is in a remote area and potentially alone - e.g. farmers.

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For about the same price they could always carry a sat phone if they needed to........
sat phone is a fair point although obviously it won't help if you are lost or too badly hurt to provide a location. Batteries don't last for as long. Potentially not as mechanically robust (without heavy case) as not designed for the purpose. No "homing" in on a sat phone to find the casualty - which means lengthy searches. On the same basis though you could (as you have done in the past) argue that they aren't needed at all and therefore that we shouldn't be allowed them at sea either. My understanding is there are very few false alarms resulting in call outs - or even "over reactions" at sea - which suggests people are bit more careful about when to use them than we give them credit for.

Actually I can almost imagine if sat phone was widely encouraged for this application there may be more call outs to minor incidents. e.g. in the situation you describe for ramblers they may call to say they were late or a bit lost or tired but heading for safety and the emergency services would turn out to make sure all was 100% ok. In contrast with a PLB you will only hit the button when you believe the shit has already hit the fan.
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Old 18 February 2008, 18:31   #4
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What you said Polwart. If UK based I'd be signing that petition. Lots of idiots afloat too, not sure being an idiot precludes use of a PLB. I'd have to hand mine in for a start....
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Old 18 February 2008, 19:31   #5
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And not just for climbers but also for horse riders, mountain bikers, paragliders or anyone else who is in a remote area and potentially alone - e.g. farmers.


On the same basis though you could (as you have done in the past) argue that they aren't needed at all and therefore that we shouldn't be allowed them at sea either.
I have NEVER said they shouldn't be used at sea!!!

I used to spend a hell of a lot of time in remote areas - usually solo - and made do with just a map and compass.

You mention many different groups of users - where do you draw the line? Surely the ultimate conclusion will be everyone in creation carrying them - wether they are a rambler with a broken leg or a teenager being followed by a gang using his latest gadget that mummy bought to keep him safe. great in principle but can the systems cope?
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Old 18 February 2008, 19:35   #6
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Polwart as you seem so fond of picking holes in everything I say without thinking of the problems why not look at this forum

http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=272218

You will see many posts from people involved in SAR that are totally against this idea. At the moment they really jump when a land signal comes in because it will be from a downed aircraft with very serious injuries - if everyone starts carrying them all hell will break loose!!!
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Old 18 February 2008, 19:37   #7
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Epirbs are far too expensive for the average idiot to buy.They cost as much as an expensive mobile and don't tell you the time,make calls or play games so they are highly unlikely to become a chav fad...

Besides, making a hoax "call" with something that tracks your location... Darwin awards?
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Old 18 February 2008, 19:45   #8
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The way prices are coming down with all modern technology they will soon be pretty cheap. Hand held GPS units used to cost about 2,000 as did early mobile phones. Now a GPS chip costs about 2.50!!!

Obviously people will not make too many hoax calls but the current rate for false alrms is 96% - yes really. They can handle it at the moment because there aren't that many out there. And whose to say that little Johnny having a sprained ankle is a hoax???
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Old 19 February 2008, 08:23   #9
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Don't forget that EPIRB / PLB registration includes quite a few different phone numbers both for the user and other contacts. The relevant authority should be contacting those to verify first as far as possible before full SAR activity.

I suspect the high percentage of false emergency calls is due these days to accidental mobile phone use - easily done if the keypad isn't locked. Also multiple calls for the same incident - what used to be one call from a callbox is now 15-20 calls from different mobiles.

Personally, (sales considerations aside!) I think use in remote areas is valid subject to responsible use - ie 'grave and imminent danger'. The biggest problem is for people in unfamiliar situations to recognise whether that's the case or not.

I'm sure there's some legislation with fines for improper use of emergency signals. Probably an Act from the 1870s but I'm sure the current government could drum up a new offence. Perhaps the units should be stickered with penalty warnings?

However, the 'Spot' system that is mentioned in the climbing forum might well be more appropriate for leisure land use. I'm sure if it's any good it will be over here before long.
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Old 19 February 2008, 09:44   #10
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Polwart as you seem so fond of picking holes in everything I say without thinking of the problems why not look at this forum
Sorry though I was fostering debate. If you are allowed to "argue" with the OP - surely I am allowed to argue with you - or am I missing something.
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http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=272218
You will see many posts from people involved in SAR that are totally against this idea. At the moment they really jump when a land signal comes in because it will be from a downed aircraft with very serious injuries - if everyone starts carrying them all hell will break loose!!!
They are registerred so the services know if it is likely to be Johnny with a broken leg or a crashed plane - so don't see how the response would be so different.

Use on land has been tried and tested in many countries and none of them have the doomsday picture you present of being snowed under with call outs.
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