ACR ARTEX

The Science Of Survival


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Smart Hunters Harness Up and Are Signal Ready

What do you do after your tree stand harness has saved you?
Smart Hunters Harness Up and Are Signal Ready
By: Craig Dougherty

What do you do after your tree stand harness has saved you?
Smart hunters know that it takes more than a safety harness to save their lives in a fall. A 4-point harness may keep you from hitting the ground in a hurry but it can suspend you in mid-air and that’s where the trouble begins. Unless you can get back in your stand or somehow lower yourself to safety, suspension trauma can set in and you can pass out and die in less than an hour. A reliable signaling device is a must for safety conscious hunters.

Suspension trauma is caused by blood pooling in the lower extremities and failing to reach the torso and brain. Persons suspended in a safety harness are extremely vulnerable to this condition and in need of rapid rescue. Some harness systems incorporate a suspension trauma relief strap which allows hanging hunters to rig a strap which they can stand on to relieve pressure and avoid the trauma associated with being suspend for extended periods of time. This helps avoid suspension trauma but hanging in a tree is no way to spend the night.

No matter how you look at it, time is of the essence to anyone hanging from a safety harness. That’s why hunters need to carry an emergency signaling device on their person at all times. A whistle can help you alert nearby hunters to a problem but there range is seriously limited. An air-horn is better but a pain to tote.

Most hunters rely on cell phones for emergency signaling but we all know they have their limitations. For starters, you need a signal; when it comes to hunters and cell phones, rule of thumb is – “the better the signal the poorer the hunting.” You never seem to have a good signal in great hunting areas. The other rule is—“your cell phone goes dead just when you need it most.” And of course, you need to be able to get to the phone, get it out of your pocket without dropping it, and have the clarity of mind to dial it in an emergency situation. You also need to know exactly where you are to direct rescue personnel to your location. When it comes to life and death situations you need more certainty than a cell phone provides.

ResQLink Personal Locator Beacon
The ultimate emergency signaling device is a personal locator beacon (PLB). PLB’s are industrial strength signaling devices that signal for help at the push of a button (and one button is about all a suspended hunter can manage). No dialing, no talking, just hit a button and wait for the rescue team to show up. The PLB beams out a signal which will be picked up by emergency personnel who are trained to vector in on the signal and administer emergency medical treatment (suspension trauma victims require special handling). PLB’s incorporate time tested and proven signaling technologies which have saved thousands of lives over the years.

In order to be effective, PLB’s must be carried on your person. They are no use stashed in a backpack hanging on tree limb or strapped to your stand. Fastening it to your harness, belt, or some other easy to access (when hanging) place. It will do you no good at all if it is stashed in a jacket pocket you have no way of reaching when suspended.

PLB’s should only be used in life threatening situations. Authorities definitely frown on sending out search and rescue squads only to find out that the signaler had run out of energy bars or arrows. Stiff fines accompany false alarms. But, if your hung in a harness with no way out, the PLB is your ticket to ride, ride home that is in the comfort of your pickup.

By: ACR Guest Blogger from the Hunting Division; Craig Dougherty
http://www.northcountrywhitetails.com

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Cautionary advice when buying beacons and survival gear online

5 quick buying tips NOT to miss

when buying a beacon from an online auction or personal on line listing!

  1. Know what beacon is right for the type of activity you enjoy doing. Read the guide below. (Boaters = EPIRB, Pilots = ELT, etc.)
  2. Find out if the beacon is Brand New and Unregistered or Used (Registered to previous owner).  If the beacon is used and has been previously registered, the current owner will need to contact NOAA (in the USA) and notify them to cancel their registration so that the new owner can properly register it.
  3. If you are buying and EPIRB, Personal Locator Beacon or ELT that has a dedicated Lithium battery, ask for the battery expiration date.  Know how many years are remaining on the battery before you buy it.
  4. Ask the seller for the country code in which the beacon is programmed.  If the beacon is programmed for the United States and you live in Australia or a country other than the United States, your beacon will need to be reprogrammed for your country (a reprogramming fee will apply) before you can register it.
  5. Have a question?? – Contact the manufacturer before you purchase.

Understanding the Difference between Safety/Signaling and Survival Beacons

Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs) – For BoatersACR GlobalFix iPRO EPIRB with built in GPS, GPS Interface and Digital Display
An EPIRB is a critical piece of last-resort lifesaving gear on your boat when you are out of range of a VHF radio, smartphone or other means of communication. EPIRBs are small radio transmitters, connected to a global government-run satellite network (Cospas-Sarsat), which is used worldwide to alert Search and Rescue agencies in the event of a dire emergency. Used only when all other means of rescue or communication have failed, these emergency beacons can be activated if your boat is in danger of sinking, or if you have a life-threatening accident or medical emergency.

EPIRBs are required to activate and transmit when they are removed from their brackets and immersed in water or manually activated in/out of the bracket. Category I brackets will automatically deploy the beacon when submerged between 3′ and 14′, while Category II brackets need to have the beacon released manually.

Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) – For any outdoor enthusiastACR ResQLink Personal Locator Beacon with built in GPS
Personal Locator Beacons, which use the same frequency and technology as an EPIRB, can be carried with you just about anywhere. They provide the same worldwide coverage as EPIRBs, and can rescue hunters, hikers, kayakers, climbers, pilots, boaters and most any outdoor enthusiast. PLBs are different from EPIRBs in some important ways. Their battery life (24hr. minimum transmit time) is often half that of an EPIRB. PLBs are not required to float or have a strobe light (but many do), and are manually deployed and activated. Like 406 MHz EPIRBs, PLBs have an additional 121.5MHz homing signal to help planes, helicopters and other searchers find you.

Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELTs) – For AircraftARTEX ME406 Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT)
An Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) is an aircraft distress beacon that can be manually or automatically activated to transmit a 406 MHz emergency signal to the Cospas-Sarsat satellite system. ELTs that activate automatically use a “G-Switch” (gravity switch) that triggers the ELT when it senses that a crash has occurred. With ELTs, Search and Rescue teams may more easily pin-point the exact location of a downed aircraft. Section 91.207 of the Federal Aviation Regulations states that no person, as well as Part 121 operators and operations governed by Part 135, may operate a U.S. registered civil aircraft unless an approved automatic type emergency locator transmitter is attached to the aircraft. Similar regulations are established by aviation authorities throughout the world.

As of 2009, traditional 121.5 MHz ELTs are no longer monitored by satellite. The system has been replaced by a far more powerful and robust system operating on 406 MHz. When you upgrade your ELT to 406 MHz, you will have peace of mind knowing you can be found quickly in the event of an emergency or unplanned landing. If your aircraft currently has an older 121.5 MHz ELT it’s still important to have an upgraded 406 MHz ELT that can automatically transmit a distress signal with your location. Without upgrading your ELT, it can take days or sometimes weeks to locate a crash scene. Upgrading your ELT means rescuers will know within minutes that you’re in distress, who you are, and exactly where you’re located. This will drastically increase your chances of survival.

Why a 406 MHz Beacon is Your Best Last Chance

The biggest difference between an EPIRB/Personal Locator Beacon/ELT and other signaling devices is the built in redundancy required by Search and Rescue agencies to be included inside 406 MHz beacons before they can be approved for sale.
Main Frequency: 406 MHz, this dedicated Search and Rescue frequency is transmitted to the Cospas-Sarsat Satellites with your beacons Unique Identification Number which links you and your beacon together (if properly registered).
GPS: beacons with a built in GPS provide the exact search radius
121.5 MHz homing frequency: provides Search and Rescue forces with another tool to home in on your exact location.

Additional Benefits: 406 MHz beacons are regulated and approved worldwide by the Search and Rescue community before they can ever be offered for sale. These very strict regulations require an independent test lab to validate that the beacons meet the stringent requirements. These distress beacons are a directly link to Search and Rescue forces worldwide, there is no monthly subscription fees, no cost for activating and being rescued and no third party call center required to forward your distress signal onto the appropriate Search and Rescue Agencies.

Satellite Emergency Notification Devices (SEND) – For outdoor enthusiast
This is a relatively new category of distress beacons that have just hit the market in the past few years. While they have some very popular features, it is important to understand some of their limitations when it comes to Search and Rescue. The main thing to know is the lack of redundancy, most SEND devices rely solely on having a GPS position to transmit your position. If the device is unable to acquire your GPS coordinates because of heavy tree canopy or severe weather, Search and Rescue will not know where to look for you until the beacon is able to provide this information. SEND Devices also use commercial satellites such as iridium or GlobalStar, this requires an annual subscription to use. Forget to renew your subscription and your beacon will not transmit your emergency distress signal. Finally, because these are commercial satellites, the distress signal is first received by a third party call center who then must forward it on to Search and Rescue forces and be able to provide them with all of your vital information.

Understanding the Pro’s and Con’s of different Survival Communication Devices

Product Type Benefits Limitations
EPIRBs
  • Direct link to Search and Rescue forces world wide
  • No subscription fees
  • Built-in Redundancy
  •  406 MHz
  • GPS (Optional)
  • 121.5 Homing
    Limited non-emergency communications (Only ACR beacons can transmit a message through the        satellites to cell phones/email using their 406Link.com optional subscription).
Personal Locator Beacons
  • Direct link to Search and Rescue forces world wide
  • No subscription fees
  • Built-in Redundancy
  • 406 MHz
  • GPS (Optional)
  • 121.5 Homing
  • Limited non-emergency communications (Only ACR beacons can transmit a message through the        satellites to cell phones/email using their 406Link.com optional subscription).
Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELT)
  • Direct link to Search and Rescue forces world wide
  • No subscription fees
  • Built-in Redundancy
  • 406 MHz
  • GPS (Optional)
  • 121.5 Homing
  • Limited non-emergency communications (Only ARTEX ELTs can transmit a message through the        satellites to cell phones/email using their 406Link.com optional subscription).
Cell Phones
  • Most people commonly have on them at all times
  • Dead Battery when you need it the most
  • Limited Coverage
  • Not Rugged or Waterproof
  • They rely on you to tell Search and Rescue where you are
Satellite Phones
  • Voice communication outside of standard cell phone ranges
  • Dead Battery when you need it the most.
  • Poor satellite reception
  • Costly subscription fees
  • Not Rugged or Waterproof
  • They rely on you to tell Search and Rescue where you are.
SEND Devices (SPOT, InReach)
  • Non-Emergency Communications
  • Tracking
  • SOS functions
  • Weak frequency
  • Low Power
  • No Redundancy
  • Costly subscription fees
  • Commercial satellites
  • 3rd party call centers
GPS Receivers
  • Tracking
  • Tells you where you are
  • GPS receivers tell You where you are, not Search and Rescue
  • Low Power Level
  • Poor Satellite Reception

How to register

You may register by visiting the SARSAT Beacon Registration page.

There is no charge for this service. IT MAY SAVE YOUR LIFE.

For more information see the NOAA SARSAT Homepage.


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A Boaters Guide To EPIRBs

Boaters-Guide-to-EPIRB
How an EPIRB Works.
An EPIRB or Emergency Position Indicating Radion Beacon, is a distress beacon used by mariners worldwide to alert Search and Rescue (SAR) forces that they are in distress. EPIRBs transmit a 406 MHz distress signal that contains a unique 15 digit identification number to the Cospas-Sarsat Satellite System (which is a government run system so there are no subscription fees). Search and Rescue forces then pull up your beacon registration (mandatory of all EPIRB owners) which tells them who the beacon belongs to as well as provides additional emerency contact information.

EPIRBs provide Search and Rescue forces with your location either via GPS data if your EPIRB is equipped with a GPS receiver, or via triangulation from the low earth orbiting satellites. This positional data is provided to the Rescue Coordination Center closest to your location. They in turn embark on your rescue mission and use the EPIRBs 121.5 MHz homing signal to ultimately pin-point your location and bring you home safetly.

Learn everything you need to know about EPIRBs in our Boaters Guide to EPIRBs (PDF).

Worldwide Registration
You are required to register your EPIRB with your local authority. If you purchase a new or used 406 MHz beacon, you MUST register it with your local government. If you change any information on your registration (such as phone number, address, bought a new boat, etc.) you MUST update the 406 MHz beacon registration. Also, if you sell your 406 MHz beacon, notify your local government that you have done so, and make sure the buyer registers the beacon personally. Otherwise, you may be contacted by rescue authorities if it is activated! Please provide the new owner a link to our registration web page so he/she can register thier beacon. Visit our Registration Data for more information about your countrys registration requirements.

EPIRB Brackets
EPIRBs come in 1 of 2 different brackets. A Category 1 bracket is an automatically deployment bracket, while a Category 2 bracket is a manual deployment only bracket.

EPIRBs have different categories which define which type of bracket the EPIRB uses Cat. 1 Cat.2
Bracket automatically deployes EPIRB when vessel sinks Yes No
Contains a Hydrostatic Release Unit (HRU) Yes No
Built-in deactivation water sensor to prevent false alarms Yes Yes
Manual activation of beacon while in bracket Yes Yes
Protects EPIRB from UV exposure Yes No

The Category I bracket is designed to release an EPIRB when the Hydrostatic Release Unit (HRU) in the bracket is submerged in water to a depth of 4 to 14 feet (1.5 – 4m). The regulation specifies a range of depth for deployment to allow for different water temperatures which will affect the release depth. The Hydrostatic Release Unit needs to be replaced every two years.

In an emergency, the EPIRB will release from its bracket, float to the surface and alert search and rescue that you need help fast.

EPIRBs in a Category II bracket need to be manually deployed and activated. They can be mounted above or below deck, in a location that is protected from outside influences (i.e. green water, traffic impacts, cabin doors, etc). Some people prefer to keep their beacon in a Ditchbag without the bracket which is ok if the bag is going to be in a dry spot on the boat.

The Benefits of upgrading to a GPS EPIRB
An EPIRB with a GPS interface or internal GPS greatly reduces the search radius down to 100 meters (110 yards) but also significantly reduces the notification time from less than 1 hour down to 1 minute.

The Cospas-Sarsat satellite system uses 2 dierent satellites. The GEOSAR satellites are stationary over the equator, if your beacon has GPS coordinates, these satellites instantly alert Search and Rescue of your position in as little as 2-3 minutes.

The LEOSAR satellites are low earth orbiting and typically ever hour one flies over your location. These satellites use Doppler shift principles to calculate your position to send to Search and Rescue. However, the notifcation time can be typically less than1 hour while you wait for one to orbit over you.