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The Science Of Survival


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Len & Lisa, ACR Survivors Use TWO Beacons for TWO Different Rescues

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ACR Electronics shares a first: within just six months a SurvivorClub replacement Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) saves a crew of three and their dog from the raging seas of the North Atlantic.

Just this past October, and without warning, Len and Lisa Rorke’s sailboat rudder broke and drifted away leaving the sailboat without any means of steering, forcing Len to activate their EPIRB. Their ACR GlobalFix iPRO EPIRB signal was received by the USCG who coordinated their rescue with a local fishing trawler which was 20 miles away. The good Samaritans aboard the trawler pulled the Rorkes, and their Jack Russell Terrier, Dexter, up on board and took them back to safety.

To everyone’s shock and disbelief not even six months later, lightning struck again. This time the couple, Dexter and a crew mate Henri Worthalter were 13 days into crossing the Atlantic Ocean, from the Turks and Caicos Islands, heading to the Mediterranean via The Azores. Their journey ended with two days of gale force winds and high seas which broke the rudder and aft bulkhead on their sailboat,The Blue Pearl. “We were 950 nautical miles from the Azores (about halfway between the Azores and Bermuda), and could not have been further from land if we tried. We had been battling heavy weather for a week and the last two days of storms battered our boat so badly that it sank right in the middle of the North Atlantic in huge seas, strong winds and in the dead of night”, stated Len, Captain of The Blue Pearl.

ImageForced into a life raft 900 miles north of Bermuda, the couple watched as their home sank before their eyes.  As fate would have it, their new EPIRB given to them just months before by ACR Electronics as part of the SurvivorClub program was put to proper use.  They activated the EPIRB once they got into their life raft and within minutes the EPIRB sent the USCG the exact location of the displaced crew.

The USCG District Command Center located two ships to help with the rescue the Tilda Kosan, a 351′ tanker, which was 32 nautical miles to the south of their position and an automated mutual-assistance vessel rescue ship (AMVER). The tanker reported they were six hours away from the EPIRB’s location and would divert off course to assist the distressed mariners. Around 12:30 a.m. the tanker located the life raft with Len, Lisa, Henri and Dexter whom the USCG previously identified.

Clearly relieved, Len said “We were extremely lucky to have survived but that luck came because we did everything right and without a question because we had properly registered our EPIRB, once again, with the US Coast Guard.”

Rescued, recovered but now homeless, the Rorkes are in good and grateful spirits despite watching their sailboat, their home just drop to the bottom of the ocean.  Their crewmate, Henri returned home to Europe but the Rorkes and Dexter were transported to Bermuda and then flown into South Florida. Currently they are residing at a good Samaritan’s home in Jupiter, FL while regrouping and raising money to join their family in the United Kingdom.

To read both of the Rorke’s survival stories please visit SurvivorClub.com.

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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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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