EPIRBS....What a great idea.

Submitted: Thursday, May 07, 2009 at 09:52
ThreadID: 68600 Views:2664 Replies:8 FollowUps:11
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There are currently 20 beacons available for use by walkers in the Blue Mountains National Park under a free-hire scheme introduced in October last year.

Hikers can borrow the personal locator beacons from the Blackheath Centre of the national Parks and Wildlife Service or Katoomba and Springwood Police stations as part of the Think Before You TREK program. In return bushwalkers have to register a "trip intention" plan with authorities.

Why can't this be extended to all national parks ?

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Reply By: Bob of KAOS - Thursday, May 07, 2009 at 10:01

Thursday, May 07, 2009 at 10:01
"Why can't this be extended to all national parks ?"

Sometimes I intend to go where I don't want them to know :-)
AnswerID: 363650

Follow Up By: Member - Footloose - Thursday, May 07, 2009 at 10:29

Thursday, May 07, 2009 at 10:29
Fair enough. But if you do then I guess that you have the resources necessary to get out of there in the event of an emergency.
But you need to balance individual freedom against the number of lives lost and resources used in searching within those parks.
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Follow Up By: Vince NSW - Thursday, May 07, 2009 at 14:18

Thursday, May 07, 2009 at 14:18
Being a Blue Mountains local & a member of the RFS who gets called out to look for these people, I am ambivalent about the idea.Most of the people we go looking for are day trippers who have wandered of the marked tracks, not bush walkers. As such they are not the types who would register and pick up a Epirb.
Vince
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Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Thursday, May 07, 2009 at 22:19

Thursday, May 07, 2009 at 22:19
"Sometimes I intend to go where I don't want them to know"

- it's easy -

A. After you've filled in the form, change your mind.

B. After you've had an accident, crawl a few kilometres before you set off the EPIRB.
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Follow Up By: Bob of KAOS - Thursday, May 07, 2009 at 22:21

Thursday, May 07, 2009 at 22:21
Mike

Ha ha ha

you obviously have a criminal mind
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Reply By: Tony - Thursday, May 07, 2009 at 10:44

Thursday, May 07, 2009 at 10:44
The "Intention to Travel" can be a bit of a pain at times.

Was asked to fill one out at the Nullingine police station, because i went in and asked about the condition of the Skull Springs Road and camping on the Oakover.

You are required to give a completion date, so if you haven't reported in by then they will come looking. All well and good you might say, but we found some great camping spots and could have stayed for weeks, not days as we indicated on the form.
AnswerID: 363661

Follow Up By: Willem - Friday, May 08, 2009 at 05:26

Friday, May 08, 2009 at 05:26
Tony

I learned many years ago to give Police Stations a miss. I need to look after myself out in the bush.

I wavered however in 1987 after crossing the Simpson (north/south crossing) and called in to the Police Station only to be met with a sarcastic remark from the infamous Birdsville copper(forget his name now) who plied his wit to everyone within earshot. That was my last visit to a Cop Shop to report in(or out).


Cheers
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FollowupID: 631457

Follow Up By: Member - Footloose - Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 08:21

Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 08:21
Willem, never had an ounce of sarcasm out of the bokes at Birdsville. In fact I have always found them (they change over the years:) to be friendly and helpful.
The only time it was different was at race time when they flew in a crew from Brisbane...no sense of fun. Especially the female one LOL
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FollowupID: 631608

Reply By: TerraFirma - Thursday, May 07, 2009 at 11:13

Thursday, May 07, 2009 at 11:13
Yes great idea.! Was wondering how many people die each year lost in the elements.?

I seem to be reading about people getting lost every 2 weeks.? This would save so many lives and reduce search and rescue costs.?

Book it in Danno..!
AnswerID: 363669

Reply By: Member - Josh (VIC) - Thursday, May 07, 2009 at 11:30

Thursday, May 07, 2009 at 11:30
We have carried one our whole trip. Not had to use it thankfully. Cheap insurance I say. We carry it when we go on hikes as well. How many bush walkers/4wdrivers would be alive today if they carried a $400 epirb. I like the idea of free usage for walkers. A few years ago we were involved with a campsite. A group got lost and we were asked to help look as local coppers were up at Mt Baw Baw looking for a school group in the snow. We spent 6 hours looking for them to find they had gone up a different track to the one they were logged in to do.
They got disorientated cause they were on a different track. If they had kept to the track they had logged into we would have found they straight away. Mild hypothermia and a few cuts and scratches were all they got but could have been worse as a huge storm blew in that night.
If you log a trek stick to it, yes it can be a pain but so is dying. An epirb is cheap insurance and one item I hope we never get to try.
Ron Moon told us he was involved in looking for a couple in the Simpson desert who set off their. When they found them they were in a hire car and couldn't work out how to change a flat tyre. Their bill was about $15,000 I think. Epirbs are only if you are going to die.

Josh
AnswerID: 363672

Reply By: Member - Mike DID - Thursday, May 07, 2009 at 14:37

Thursday, May 07, 2009 at 14:37
"Why can't this be extended to all national parks ?"

- it's the usual answer as to why the obvious isn't done - MONEY.

The EPIRBs were donated by the company that sells them.

After they had been donated, they weren't available to walkers for many months while the paper-shufflers worked out the requirements for lending them out !!!!

I borrowed one on Friday - the process is quick and easy now.
AnswerID: 363690

Follow Up By: Benbro - Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 00:20

Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 00:20
Glad to hear that the process is quick and easy,

This was a pilot scheme and it has proved to be very successful with over 200 having been loaned out and 3 rescues so far, as soon as we sort out a few minor issues we will extend it. We are trying to raise the money to take the scheme state wide

By the way, we don't sell them, we just bought them and donated them.

All the best
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Reply By: Crackles - Thursday, May 07, 2009 at 21:00

Thursday, May 07, 2009 at 21:00
While initially I thought what a great idea as well I have some reservations about Parks having to spend the time running the system. It is clever linking the handout of the EPIRBs to regeristing a trip intention as really that is a key process all hikers need to do.
Like Vince I doubt that the people who take the time to pick one up will actually be the one's that really need it.
Cheers Craig............
AnswerID: 363753

Reply By: aroundwego - Thursday, May 07, 2009 at 23:13

Thursday, May 07, 2009 at 23:13
Tasmania Parks and Wildlife also have an arrangement in place where you can hire one for $40 for 7 Days.
http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/index.aspx?id=7364

We coordinated a rescue for three guys who hired one last week, and needed to be recovered by helo. Best $40 bucks they have ever spent.
AnswerID: 363786

Reply By: Benbro - Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 00:30

Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 00:30
This was a pilot scheme and it has proved to be very successful with over 200 having been loaned out and 3 rescues so far, as soon as we sort out a few minor issues we will extend it. We are trying to raise the money to take the scheme state wide

By the way, we don't sell them, we just bought them and donated them.

Thanks for raising the issue

All the best
AnswerID: 363951

Follow Up By: Member - Footloose - Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 08:27

Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 08:27
"We are trying to raise the money to take the scheme state wide "....who's we ? Lions ? Police ? Nat parks ?
Whoever it is, may I wish them success in this most worthwhile venture.
I have been pushing for such schemes for years.
I would also like to see it mandatory for hired 4wds. (I can hear the screams from here:)
We are an overgovered country. But some things are still left to commone sense and chance. Basically because there are no votes in them.
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Follow Up By: Benbro - Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 09:55

Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 09:55
My company Benbro started the scheme following the avoidable death of David Iredale, several people have died in the Blue Mountains in the last few years merely as a result of being lost.

Police rescue and NP&WS have been fully behind it and have really made it happen.

We have bought 4 more PLBs last week, and will be donating them soon.

Seems like a no brainer to us

Regards
John
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FollowupID: 631639

Follow Up By: Member - Footloose - Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 10:01

Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 10:01
John, well done and congratulations. But I cannot understand why some of the agencies involved cannot contribute. After all, you are saving them hundreds of thousands of dollars in searches alone, never mind the human toll.
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Follow Up By: Benbro - Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 10:37

Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 10:37
Thanks for your sentiments,

No doubt about the financial savings

I think that the success of the scheme is the fact that it navigates the red tape and has no financial demands on any of the agencies, Police and Parks are in fact contributing quite considerably in logistical resources.

The critical factors are accessibility availability and simplicity.

Oh and of course publicity, one sure thing that will make the scheme fail is if nobody knows about it!!!!!!

John
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FollowupID: 631649

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