Cell phones (or mobile phones) have become the most important safety item that people take into the wilderness. The public also believes that SAR can locate you by using your smart phone, and to a certain extent this is true, as long as you have a signal. Coquitlam SAR members have developed some software that we use to pinpoint your location using the GPS on some smart phones, and this has helped us locate many people, but this also has its limitations — similar to the system used by 911, once the phone is out of contact, out of power, or off, we cannot locate you.
It is possible to mitigate these failings with special cases, and external battery packs, but a specialized wilderness GPS is more durable, lighter, takes the same batteries as most flashlights, and is extremely accurate. The call is being recorded so tell them concisely what area you are in, where you started from, and any other information on your position you can gather.

When SAR members are closing on your position, they may call you to alert you or to ask you from what direction their voices are coming from. Many people feel that if anything goes wrong, the cell phone will allow them to contact help, and they will be rescued.
When you go out of range of a cell tower, it continues to use power, and in some cases uses even more than usual trying to connect to the cellular network. This is not true because for even the newest smart phones, the biggest use of power is to light the screen.
This allows the phone to tell you where you are, and if you are connected to the data network you can use online mapping software to navigate.

This is good when you are in an urban area with lots of cellular towers nearby, but in the wilderness the accuracy decreases greatly, and we can only tell the general area. Leave the plan in your car or with a friend. Take the 10 essentials, be prepared for your chosen sport, plan for changes in weather, know where you are going and tell someone where and when you will be back.

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Comments to «Cell phone search and rescue equipment»

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