911/SOS on the SPOT System: An Overview and Some Specifications
- From Spot's blog. Of interest to those who hike in a group with a Spot device.
Sent to you by Roleigh Martin via Google Reader:via Frontpage by josephapp@... (Joseph App) on 6/23/10
Having a lifeline is what SPOT’s all about. Enjoying the outdoors is what you’re all about. That is why we brought you 911/SOS on the original SPOT unit. We continue to bring you this critical core function as the cornerstone of SPOT products and services. The SOS feature should only be used in a critical or life threatening emergencies. We decided to take a moment and dive deeper into explaining this safety feature in some detail.
SPOT sends your emergency profile information and current GPS location to the GEOS Rescue Coordination Center every 5 minutes until cancelled or the batteries run out. This helps rescue teams get the latest, most up to date information about your location. Other devices in this category use longer periods of time between each update. Remember, frequent alerts with updated location data are invaluable for prompt rescue response when floating in a current or having to be on the move for some reason and needing help.
If SPOT cannot get a GPS signal, it will still attempt to send your message - without a GPS location. Additionally, your SPOT Messenger continues to search for a fix every 5 minutes that it is transmitting. Previous message data, and contacting people on your emergency contact profile, can aid in determining your location.
There is no direct SOS test mode. We encourage all customers to practice using Check-in/OK as a means to test their message transmissions on a regular basis. For more info on how to test your SPOT this way, see here. If you activate the SOS function, the GEOS Rescue Coordination Center will treat it as a real emergency.
How SPOT Prioritizes SOS
SOS messages are the top priority for SPOT. When you select Help/SPOT Assist or SOS, you will disable Check-in/OK, Custom message and Track Progress functions. Help messages will still be transmitted to designated friends and family in Combined Help and SOS mode. If you have signed up for SPOT Assist, SPOT Assist will not be available. Please note that SPOT strongly recommends that you do not utilize Combined Help and SOS mode, as your friends and family could interfere with rescue efforts.
Track Progress, an optional service for your SPOT, can provide a breadcrumb trail of last known locations that can assist rescue authorities when you’re unable to press SOS for some reason. An emergency team could take advantage of tracking information to come in close proximity of your location. In fact, GEOS has access to your entire SPOT message history for the last 24 hours prior to when they receive an SOS message.
For more tips on general outdoor preparedness, before you might be in an SOS situation, please visit http://www.findmespot.com/prepared.
Things you can do from here: