Rescue response - a step up in future

Sarsat - response times set to improve with new innovative technology
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If you think rescue response across the world's oceans is already very good, you haven't seen anything yet. With the innovative thinking of a Surrey-based engineering firm, they are set to get a whole lot better.

Sartech Engineering, who already have the reputation of being one of the world's leading specialists in search and rescue technology, have invented and produced a new emergency beacon monitor that is capable of instant identification of all 406MHz beacons over a very wide area. In the future this could eliminate unnecessary and costly callouts by rescuers.

Currently signals are picked up by the Sarsat satellite network, but this is followed a (comparatively) long process. The signal is relayed to the relevant Rescue Co-ordination Centre. The Search & Rescue databases are then searched for the registered owner’s contact details and the position of the signal is identified and fed back to the investigation. Probable scenarios are then drawn up and phone calls made to eliminate or confirm possible solutions. Finally, the appropriate emergency rescue response can either be triggered or the alert cancelled.

All of this process is eliminated with the new monitor, as the signals from a very wide area are detected, logged and mapped instantaneously giving the relevant port authority, airfield operator, marina manager or park ranger a real-time notification of any possible emergencies.

This means that the alert can then be investigated locally and the appropriate action taken before the emergency services are even put on standby.

The new device is compatible with all past, present and future Cospas Sarsat channels and despite its compact dimensions (4.3 x 2.5 x 1 inches) it has -125dBm receiver sensitivity which gives it an impressive range.

Managing Director of Sartech Peter Forey, in a statement, made reference to the increasing non-commercial use of emergency beacons. 'Emergency beacons are becoming more and more common outside commercial operations,' he said in a statement.

'The popularity of smaller personal beacons for outdoor pursuits gives authorities and operators the opportunity to provide peace of mind to their customers.

'This new beacon monitor provides faster distinction between real and false alerts, reduced rescue response times and an easy ‘beacon check’ facility.'