Further Info on SPOT Messenger

Submitted: Thursday, Mar 19, 2009 at 16:18
ThreadID: 66979 Views:2297 Replies:3 FollowUps:5
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When last on this forum there was doubt about whether AUSSAR responded to a SPOT 911 emergency call

I rang AUSSAR in Canberra and they confirmed that they will respond to a 911 signal from GEOS Alliance and have done so in the past. But they say it should not be considered as a replacement for an EPRIB as:
It is new technology and they are unsure of its reliability.
The 911 message originates from America and is outside their control.
There may be delays, as there are others in the chain of communication, where as with EPIRBS they have direct control over the situation.
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Reply By: Big Woody - Thursday, Mar 19, 2009 at 19:10

Thursday, Mar 19, 2009 at 19:10
Great info Dennis.

Best way to get the facts is from the horses mouth.

Thanks for making the effort to find out.

AnswerID: 354968

Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Thursday, Mar 19, 2009 at 22:12

Thursday, Mar 19, 2009 at 22:12
Glad I could help - I have a SPOT and needed to clarify for my own peace of mind too.
FollowupID: 623090

Reply By: aroundwego - Thursday, Mar 19, 2009 at 23:06

Thursday, Mar 19, 2009 at 23:06

Just a minor bit, just for anyone who reads your info above.

Aussar wont get a Spot 911 emergency call directly. That call goes to the GeOS rescue centre. They then telephone and advise Aussar.

In reality its no different to receiving a call or advice about a distress scenario from a person with a sat phone or concerned friends.

For most users here, (if using it while 4wding or camping), Aussar will then transfer coordination for the spot distress to the relevant state police (who are responsible for land SAR).

AnswerID: 355044

Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 10:33

Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 10:33
I didn't say that the call would come from SPOT but from their 911 service provider the GEOS alliance. AUSSAR told me they would treat it as an emergency in the same manner as an EPIRB signal. How they handle the rescue be it land or sea, I didn't go into that detail. My concern was that they would action the message. Have you been in contact with AUSSAR? Have they provided you with different information?
Cheers Dennis

FollowupID: 623149

Follow Up By: aroundwego - Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 11:18

Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 11:18

Mate sorry, I tried to word my response without it looking as though you were wrong.

I just wanted to make it clear if anyone else read it, that when you press the 911 button it goes to the GEOS Alliance, and they have said to their customers that they will call Aussar (by phone) and pass the details. There is no automatic routing of your help message, nor is there any formal agreement. That was all.

Yes they will treat it the same as any Distress Message that is received. In this case it would be passed to the relevant State Police for coordination as its a land job. That doesn't mean you wont get help or anything, as that is a controlled action. Its just that there are Aussar roles and State roles. Slight difference is that Aussar retains coordination of tracking down an EPIRB whether its on land or sea. That doesnt mean the search is any less effective and there is a lot of liason and sharing of resources between them.

Last year there at least one instance where a Spot alert was raised by kayaker off Tasmania. He did get saved in the end but the passing of details to the correct authority within Australia wasn't too flash. There was some followup to that and better contact numbers (phone numbers) were passed.

I'm not being critical or anything about Spot, I think its perfect for allowing people to track you and lets you send SMS's. Its not a bad backup plan if you get into trouble. Ive considered buying one just for the tracking function

Personally if I'm in Distress I would prefer an epirb. It has many advantages in a SAR scenario (but cant send sms's :) ) For a start if you are in bushland (or floating in the sea) in many cases it can be very hard to locate someone based purely on a GPS position. Whereas an EPIRB transmits so ground and air searchers can home in on you.

I have a good understanding of aussar as that is where I worked and I'm going back online in the next few weeks (I just took a break to do some other stuff for a few months :) ) But right at the moment please don't take what I say as a "company response"

I think you calling and asking was a great thing, and what you posted was correct. As I said I just wanted to clarify (for future readers) that it isn't an automatic response and there are no formal agreements in place. The response though will be treated as per any other request received.


FollowupID: 623164

Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 15:46

Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 15:46
Thats OK - no offence taken. Nothing you've said conflicts with what AUSSAR told me, and its good to get a detailed view from some one who has worked there.
FollowupID: 623208

Reply By: Member - Mike DID - Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 21:45

Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 21:45
If AusSAR get a report by carrier-pigeon, and they are convinced it's not a hoax, they will iinitiate a search.

In other words, it doesn't matter how they're notified of a person in distress, they have to take action.
AnswerID: 355227

Follow Up By: aroundwego - Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 23:46

Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 23:46
except they cant get inside the building.

However that was pretty much an agreed component of the discussion above, in fact I cant see where it was even raised that they didnt......
FollowupID: 623291

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