Personal Locator Beacon or PLB is a tiny life saving device which should be an essential companion for all bushwalkers, hikers and outback travelers. Personal Locator Beacon is a form of emergency beacon which upon being activated will transmit a message. This message will be picked up by geostationary satellites hovering the earth and will be subsequently passed along to emergency services on land.
Rangers on foot or mounted in helicopters are rescue sources for outback hikers. The rangers and helicopters direct themselves towards the coordinates transmitted by PLB. Relying on radio directions to pinpoint the beacon, the hiker can be spotted and rescued. Personal Locator Beacon is paramount for emergency communications in the wilderness of Outback and hence it is vital to learn when to use a PLB and where to obtain it.
When to invoke PLB’s assistance
Personal Locator Beacon is to be resorted to eventually when other modes of communication have failed. Telephone, radio or other direct communication is to be used for making emergency calls if available. The fact that verbal communication with emergency services will result though direct communication means will fetch rapid and adequate response. PLB is to be used only in dire circumstances where chances of direct talk with emergency services are bleak.
How to use PLB: Conditions under which PLB falters
Before invoking PLB into action, one should make his way to an open area and at a spot located well above the surrounding area with a major chunk of the sky clearly visible. This will ensure unhindered transmission of signal and will wipe out probabilities of PLB not yielding desired results.
Certain natural conditions may pose encumbrances in the smooth functioning of Personal Locator Beacon. They include:
- Inclement weather and accompanying lighting can mislead rescuers with inaccurate positions and cause delay in reaching rescue assistance.
- Narrow and deep ravines will not allow distress signals issued by PLB to be detected.
- Distress signals will be picked up by satellites at night, but the rescue team may land up only in the next day.
To conclude, PLB is a must for all hikers as dangers may be encountered at any point.