im sure PLBs area activated for stupid stuff as well ... however it wasnt a PLB that was used for the infamous spot grand canyon tripple "rescue" ... lol
what you use is up to you, but i know which one im getting for when the chips are REALLY down ... if i want my friends to keep up on me on twitter or need a sbucks latte ... im sure a SPOT will suffice =P
One of the most frustrating new technologies for the parks to deal with, rangers say, are the personal satellite messaging devices that can send out an emergency signal but are not capable of two-way communication. Globalstar Inc., the manufacturer of SPOT brand devices, says new models allow owners to send a message with the help request.In some cases, said Keith Lober, the ranger in charge of search and rescue at Yosemite National Park in California, the calls “come from people who don’t need the 911 service, but they take the SPOT and at the first sign of trouble, they hit the panic button.”But without two-way communication, the rangers cannot evaluate the seriousness of the call, so they respond as if it were an emergency.Last fall, two men with teenage sons pressed the help button on a device they were carrying as they hiked the challenging backcountry of Grand Canyon National Park. Search and rescue sent a helicopter, but the men declined to board, saying they had activated the device because they were short on water.
rand Canyon National Park (AZ)
Hikers Evacuated After Three SPOT Activations In Three Days
On the evening of September 23rd, rangers began a search for hikers who repeatedly activated their rented SPOT satellite tracking device. The GEOS Emergency Response Center in Houston reported that someone in the group of four hikers – two men and their two teenaged sons – had pressed the “help” button on their SPOT unit. The coordinates for the signal placed the group in a remote section of the park, most likely on the challenging Royal Arch loop.
Due to darkness and the remoteness of the location, rangers were unable to reach them via helicopter until the following morning. When found, they’d moved about a mile and a half to a water source. They declined rescue, as they’d activated the device due to their lack of water.
Later that same evening, the same SPOT device was again activated, this time using the “911” button. Coordinates placed them less than a quarter mile from the spot where searchers had found them that morning. Once again, nightfall prevented a response by park helicopter, so an Arizona DPS helicopter whose crew utilized night vision goggles was brought in. They found that the members of the group were concerned about possible dehydration because the water they’d found tasted salty, but no actual emergency existed. The helicopter crew declined their request for a night evacuation, but provided them with water before departing.
On the following morning, another SPOT “help” activation came in from the group. This time they were flown out by park helicopter. All four refused medical assessment or treatment. The group’s leader had reportedly hiked once at the Grand Canyon; the other adult had no Grand Canyon and very little backpacking experience. When asked what they would have done without the SPOT device, the leader stated, “We would have never attempted this hike.” The group leader was issued a citation for creating a hazardous condition (36 CFR 2.34(a)(4)).