There are several commercial options for emergency locator devices. These devices typically have a button that when pressed, will send a signal to a satellite and back to a control center on Earth to let them know that you are in trouble and your location. These devices usually require a clear unobstructed view of the sky and will sometimes send multiple alerts to ensure that at least one will get through.
One of the most popular civilian emergency locators is the Spot Messenger. The spot messenger is a small device that can be easily carried in a pack or a vehicle. The spot satellite messenger will involve a service plan, but if you need it one time, that is money well spent. According to the Spot Messenger website, this is how it works:
- GPS satellites provide signals
- SPOT messenger’s onboard GPS chip determines your GPS location and sends your location and preselected message to communication satellites
- Communication satellites relay your message to specific satellite antennas around the world
- Satellite antennas and a global network route your location and message to the appropriate network
- Your location and messages are delivered according to your instructions via email, text message, or emergency notification to the GEOS Rescue Coordination Center
There are several other options available, but you will have to do a little research to find which one is right for you. Keep in mind the initial cost, the cost of any service plan and what it’s capabilities are.
If you do have an emergency locator or someone in your group has an emergency locator, it is important that others in your group are aware that it exists and know where it is stored and how and when to use it. The emergency locator will do know good when it is needed if nobody knows it is there or how to use it.