Safety First

Fairly recently one of us had a nasty fall in a very remote location. What happened after that was the use of a PLB and probably a text-book rescue but have a read for yourself:

For those who may not know, Sylvia has had a fall during a bushwalk in the West MacDonnell Ranges, Northern Territory. Slipped on wet rocks at 5.30 am enroute to the toilet, did a backflip and landed on her back, cracked a rib and punctured her lung. Then walked 15km with a 16 kilo pack before they set the emergency beacon off. Helicopter rescue and a 3 day stay at the Alice springs Hilton (hospital)
She is a tough old bird!

Rescue

First of all Sylvia is on the way to a full recovery and except for some problems with coughs, sneezes and left-hand car turns, she doing well 🙂

The moral of this incident is, that it doesn’t take much to turn a perfectly fun geocaching trip into a nightmare. However a PLB or satellite tracker can take the stress and worry out of a rescue operation. In general by activating these devices, you will alert a professional emergency centre which then takes the necessary steps to get you to safety.PLB

The used device was a kti safety alert PLB – SA2G owned by the Maroondah Bushwalking Club. You can pick up PLBs for as cheap as $200 and with a shelve-life of over 5 years and no subscription fees, this is a very low price for maybe saving your life one day. The list of people who perished in remote Australian areas because they did not have proper communication, is unfortunately fairly long. The recent case of Dane Kowalski is just one of the more prominent ones.Chopper

Before you are going into remote areas, take some precautions. Think TREK:

  • T – Take adequate supplies of food, water, navigation and first aid equipment.
  • R – Register your planned route and tell friends and family when you expect to return.
  • E – Emergency beacon (PLB’s) can be hired from a lot of shops around Melbourne. In NSW they are available free of charge from the Police Force and NPWS.
  • K – Keep to your planned route and follow the map and walking trails.

You wonder how this might look in the real geocaching life. Easy! This weekend I will head out to a remote and unloved cache in the Victorian High Country. This will be a solo hike which enforces the need for a proper emergency communication channel. But let’s have a look at my TREK plan:

  • T – Take adequate supplies of food, water, navigation and first aid equipment.
    I have a enough food for 4 days with 2 days worth in the day-pack. I also got a paper map in case my GPS runs dry and a proper first-aid kit.
  • R – Register your planned route and tell friends and family when you expect to return.
    Yesterday evening, I briefed Anna about the planned trip, the route and possible deviations.
  • E – Emergency beacon (PLB’s) 
    I own an inReach SE which not only serves as an emergency beacon but also as a two-way communication device. You can follow my progress from 6pm tonight at https://share.delorme.com/Philipp or on the Geocaching Melbourne facebook page
  • K – Keep to your planned route and follow the map and walking trails.
    Although I don’t have any intention of doing so, I have the option to let Anna know I changed plans. The iridium satellite network has 100% global coverage.

Although all of this sounds pretty scary, leaving the beaten path in the suburbs for the true gems of geocaching, can be one of the most rewarding things. Thanks Ian for the pictures and all the best recovery wishes for Sylvia.

See you on the trail
Philipp

One thought on “Safety First

  1. Louise 12 June, 2015 / 5:06 pm

    Why did she walk so far before setting off the beacon?

    Like

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