ACR ARTEX

The Science Of Survival


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ACR Electronics declares April 6th (4/06) to be “406 MHz Beacon Awareness Day” and ACR is asking our beacon owners, survivors and partners to help spread the word and share their stories! The *406 MHz technology has saved 35,000 lives since early 1980’s, certainly a statistic to be celebrated! Visit http://www.survivorclub.com to read some first-hand testimonies.

Please do your part to promote 406 MHz beacon use by sharing your specially tailored message and photo on your social media accounts. Tell everyone what your PLB or EPIRB frees you to do. Include a picture of the activity or place where your beacon gives you the confidence and freedom to go. ACR will be giving random participants prizes for sharing their 406 MHz message.

How to enter?

Tweet or Facebook post titled “what my 406 beacon frees me to do”. Include a picture of the activity or place your beacon gives you the confidence and freedom to go.

*You must use one or all of the key terms below so we can find your entry:

  • @acrartex
  • #406MHz
  • #406SurvivorClub
  • #ACRARTEX
  • “406 MHz Beacon Awareness Day”

For more information on “406 MHz Beacon Awareness Day” please contact:

Nichole Kalil, Public Relations and Media Specialist

T: +1-954-862-2180 or nichole.kalil@acrartex.com

Source: http://www.sarsat.noaa.gov/statistics.html

 


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Three Saved in New Zealand on different Days by Same Rescue Agency

In the midst of tramping season, ACR Electronics (PLB manufacturer), Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter Trust  Search and Rescue Team (SAR) and the Nelson Cave Rescue Team hosted a cooperative press conference to share a few survivor stories in hopes of educating the tramping community on safety precautions such as preparedness and carrying a 406 MHz emergency beacon.

One of the survivors presented three plaques to the SAR teams for their heroic efforts in bringing them to safety. ACR’s 406 MHz beacons have assisted search and rescue in locating survivors from life threatening injuries, lost trampers and other dangerous situations in New Zealand and around the world.

Jill Clendon who after falling five metres down into a cave, was saved by the use of her ACR Personal Locator Beacon. Barry Ingrham received medical attention shortly after setting off his beacon after becoming ill with a respiratory infection. Sarah Milichi who was almost flooded out when caught between tributaries, due to unexpected heavy rains. Jill, Barry and Sarah’s firsthand stories can be read at www.SurvivorClub.com


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Whats the difference between a Personal Locator Beacons and Avalanche Beacons?

AVY_BLOG_SLOBBER

Learn more about Personal Locator Beacons

We often get asked the question; what’s the difference between an Avalanche Beacon and an ACR 406 MHz Personal Locator Beacon?

The answer essentially comes down to the fact that each beacon has 2 different jobs.  The easiest way to think about this is while both beacons are designed to aid in Search and Rescue, an avalanche beacon does the Searching, while a Personal Locator Beacon brings the Rescue.

Avalanche beacons are specifically designed to locate other 457 kHz signals buried under the snow.  An avalanche beacons is constantly transmitting a low powered pulsed signal during your skiing/snowboarding/snowmobiling trip and should you get caught in an avalanche, anyone in your party that is safe will switch their beacon from the transmitting mode to the receiving mode which allows use as a radio direction finder.   The searchers in your party use their beacons to find your location and dig you out of the snow.

Surviving the avalanche and getting out alive is the first major hurdle to overcome, but quickly your attention must turn to assessing injuries.  According to the US National Library of Medicine, the most frequent injuries are to your extremities, chest and/or spine.  Getting medical attention is imperative, but can also be extremely difficult in the backcountry depending upon your location and the extent of the injuries.  That is why a 406 MHz beacon is the perfect complimentary beacon to an avalanche beacon, it calls in the cavalry.

Avalanche sign and mountains at the backgroundAn ACR 406 MHz Personal Locator Beacon, like the ResQLink,  utilizes the Cospas-Sarsat Search and Rescue Satellite System and provides the closest Search and Rescue Agency to your vicinity with your registration data, emergency contacts and location information.  Search and Rescue (SAR) forces use the GPS position (or coordinates based on triangulation if GPS data is not available) from the beacon along with the information you provide when you properly register your beacon to immediately set out on the rescue mission.  There is no subscription or activation fees with a Personal Locator Beacon, the only thing required is mandatory registration, which is what tells SAR forces who activated the beacon.

On average, 150 people lose there lives to avalanches each year.  While predicting and avoiding avalanches are becoming more and more reliable, anyone in these areas is always still at risk and should be well-trained in avalanche safety.  For more information and safety tips on Avalanche please check out National Ski Patrol, or find an avalanche safety course in your area.

Sources:
National Geographics
US National Library of Medicine


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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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The Anatomy of a Rescue

Cospas Sarsat - International satellite system

Learn how a rescue works.

1. Distressed mariner/outdoor adventurer/pilot activates beacon (EPIRB, PLB, ELT).

2. Beacon transmits a 406 MHz emergency message containing your Unique Identifier Number (UIN) to the LEOSAR (polar orbiting) and GEOSAR* (geostationary) satellite systems.

3. The satellites relay the 406 MHz emergency message to a ground station called the Local User Terminal (LUT). The LUT calculates the location of the signal by measuring the Doppler shift caused by the relative movement between the satellite and the beacon and forwards the location to the Mission Control Center (MCC).

4. The MCC continues to receive information from additional satellite passes and further refines the beacon position (2.3 nm search radius). An alert message is generated that is combined with the registration information from the database and is forwarded to the appropriate Rescue Coordination Center (RCC).

5. The RCC makes contact with the persons listed in the database to verify the existence of an emergency and gathers additional information about the beacon users. The RCC will dispatch the closest, capable Search and Rescue (SAR) forces.

6. Local SAR forces launch a rescue mission and use the 121.5 MHz homing signal to pinpoint the beacon.

* On average, worldwide, this notification (steps 2 through 5) take up to one hour for non-GPS beacons. For self-locating beacons that provide GPS position data in their first transmissions, the search radius is reduced to .05 nm (100 m) and the notification can take as little as three minutes. (Data provided by Cospas-Sarsat.)

About the Cospas-Sarsat Search and Rescue System

Orbiting high overhead every minute of the day is a worldwide network of polar-orbiting and geostationary satellites. Together with Russia’s Cospas spacecraft, they make up the high-tech international Search and Rescue Satellite-Aided Tracking System known as Cospas-Sarsat.

Cospas-Sarsat has been credited with nearly 30,000 rescues worldwide. The system relies on signals received on the 406 MHz frequency to pinpoint position and speed rescuers to the scene of an emergency on land or at sea.

In fact, the more reliable, digital 406 MHz frequency has become the de facto internationally recognized distress frequency. Using the 406 MHz frequency, modern signaling devices can quickly beam GPS LAT/LON coordinates to orbiting satellites. This frequency also allows a position fix through Doppler shift to acquire a location even when GPS can’t.

As of February 1, 2009, satellite processing of distress signals from the older 121.5 and 243 MHz emergency beacons was terminated worldwide due to unreliability and false alarms. When a 406 MHz beacon signal is received, search and rescue personnel can retrieve information from a registration database.

This includes the beacon owner’s contact information, emergency contact information and details regarding the specific trip plan and any medical conditions of the owner or members in the party. Having this information allows the Coast Guard, or other rescue personnel, to respond appropriately. NOAA, along with the U.S. Coast Guard, is strongly advising all mariners, aviators and individuals using 121.5/243 MHz emergency beacons to make the switch to 406 MHz in order to take full advantage of the Sarsat system.

Cospas-Sarsat is maintained and operated by governments all over the world, thus there is no subscription fee required for owning a 406 MHz EPIRB, ELT or Personal Locator Beacon.

Tags: Cospas Sarsat, 406 MHz Rescue, Search and Rescue Process, Coast Guard Rescue, How a rescue works, Anatomy of a rescue, EPIRB, Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon, Personal Locator Beacon, PLB, Emergency Locator Transmitter, ELT