Monday, 26 October 2009

PLBs in the DNM. RLY.

Sad but true:
If they had not been toting the device that works like Onstar for hikers, “we would have never attempted this hike,” one of them said after the third rescue crew forced them to board their chopper. It’s a growing problem facing the men and women who risk their lives when they believe others are in danger of losing theirs.

Technology has made calling for help instantaneous even in the most remote places. Because would-be adventurers can send GPS coordinates to rescuers with the touch of a button, some are exploring terrain they do not have the experience, knowledge or endurance to tackle.
This story makes me mildly angry, because we rely on this stuff to get us out of really dangerous messes. The one day I have to actually activate a PLB, I don't want the guys on the end wondering if I'm just some jerk from the states who forgot to bring his toothbrush. I wish there was a way to punish people for non-emergencies...

4 comments:

dragonfly said...

quote: “There’s controversy over these devices in the first place because it removes the self sufficiency that’s required in the back country,” Scharper said. “But we are a society of services, and every service you need you can get by calling.”

That's it in a nutshell right there.

TwoYaks said...

I disagree with that first sentiment. There are situations where no amount of self sufficiency would suffice. Like a plane crash. Or a medical emergency. I don't think we'd tell heart-attack patients in the vill, `well, you're on your own. You should have thought of this when you decided to stay in Emmonak...`

fireweedroots said...

We've seen a bit of the same problem here but with people on snowmobiles that head on out into the back country. New technology make people think nothing can happen to them and/or they use the PLB almost as an intercom to "DaddY".

dragonfly said...

I don't think that first statement was meant to apply to plane crashes or medical emergencies in remote villages. I read it as applying to the folks who tackle a serious climb or hike without the proper skills/knowledge, appropriate gear, etc who use the PLB like a flight attendant call.