This post from the Rocky Mountain Rescue Group summarizes well the pros and cons of the blizzard of Personal Locator Beacons that are filtering into the backcountry.
Companies like ACR and Spot make amazing products that provide a game-changing way of staying just connected enough in the backcountry to call for help if something goes very wrong. Push the Big Red Button, and a distress signal gets beamed through a satellite to a dispatch center that then calls 911 for you. Search and rescue teams, most of them volunteers, get called and start traveling to the site of the ping.
The trouble comes when a hiker mistakenly hits the “I’m screwed!” button for whatever reason. In this case, a skier thought his PLB was an avalanche beacon, and pushed the button every time he went skiing—causing rescuers in his area no small number of headaches.
Here’s the story, and some sage advice, from the RMRG. (Thanks to Will Gadd // @gilwad) for sending this along.
Image courtesy TLR Systems.