Free EPIRBs saving lives

Benbro Electronics Pty Ltd
Wednesday, 04 November, 2009

A free service in the Blue Mountains, instituted by Benbro Electronics in cooperation with the Police Rescue Service and the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, may have already save a life and assisted the rescue of two other bushwalkers, who also felt that they were in imminent danger. Person locator beacons (PLBs), commonly known as EPIRBs (emergency position indicating radio beacons), are provided as part of the "Think before you trek" scheme aimed at providing practical information about the dangers of venturing into the Australian bush.

Since the launch of the EPIRBs, in October last year, more than 400 bushwalkers have used the services and borrowed one of the pocket-sized beacons, which can alert authorities to their position, to within about 50 m, when activated, even in remote areas.

During the peak bushwalking season, up to 15 beacons were borrowed every weekend.

The EPIRBs were bought and donated by Benbro Electronics. Technical director, John Bennett, is an avid bushwalker and canyoner.

He became concerned following the death of David Iredale in the Blue Mountains, who died simply because he was lost.

The EPIRBs are available to bushwalkers who register their trip intentions at either the National Parks and Wildlife centre at Blackheath, during office hours, or the 24-hour police stations at Springwood and Katoomba, after hours.

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