Be SMART about using a
- Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)
- Satellite Emergency Notification Device (SEND) e.g. “Spot”
- cell phone
- If you answer “No!’ to “Would I go there without my PLB, “SEND” or cell phone?” then don’t go there
- Would you normally do something that might fracture your pelvis, freeze your hands or feet, kill you by
heat stroke, suffocate you under snow, drown you or get you lost for days? If you answer “NO” – then don’t do it relying on a signaling device!
- Don’t think “It won’t happen to me – that happens to someone else.” Backcountry and wilderness travelers must know how to:
- Prepare for
- Recognize and
- Prevent an emergency
“SEND” – A distress signal transmitter that uses satellites for communication, other than a PLB (Personal Locator Beacon, for individuals), ELT (Emergency Locator Transmitter, for aircraft) or EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon, for boats).
2010 statistics on PLBs in the United States:
- At the end of 2010 there were 75,850 registered PLBs in the United States
- The number of registered PLBs increased by 35.4% in 2009 and 32.2% in 2010.
- The PLB population in the United States is forecast to increase 30% in 2011, 20% in 2012, 12% annually from 2013 to 2015 and 7% annually from 2016 to 2020.
- The registration rate for PLBs in the United States was 80.9%. In comparison, the registration rate for ELTs was 63.5% and 79.6% for EPIRBs
- The false alert rate for PLBs from a system perspective was .77% (The system perspective compares the number of false alerts to the estimated PLB population. The estimated PLB population included both registered and unregistered PLBs)
- The false alert rate for PLBs from a SAR response perspective was 78% (The SAR response perspective compares all PLB alerts to the number of distress alerts)
Steve Roark, NOAA SARSAT Program Analyst
Founded in 1972, the National Association for Search and Rescue comprises more than 9,000 volunteer and paid search and rescue professionals who work at the local, state and national level in land, aviation and water SAR. NASAR conducts hundreds of training courses and thousands of certification exams each year. More than 13,000 people hold any of 9 NASAR certifications in SAR operations.
The National Association for Search and Rescue
P.O. Box 232020
Centreville, VA 20120
PLB-SEND Recommendations NASAR.doc 1/2009