Personal Locator Beacons

Modern Technology to Save Your Family

Personal Locator Beacons SAVE LIVES EVERYDAY

Personal Locator Beacons = Security

One of the things I suggest as an extra safety feature in your planning is to add a PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) to your survival tools.  If you are in a disaster of any kind you can activate your PLB to help the first responders to get you as quickly as possible. 

Yes, you have done all of your planning in detail but when we least expect it, all of our paths to safety might be blocked for one reason or another and not be available so PLBs are an ideal contingency plan.

They will all function inside your double bagged zip locked quart sized bags that you have your papers, plans, phone list, notes, and maps in, not the bags where you should store it covered with an aluminum foil Faraday bag to protect it from an EMP like your other electronics. This one is safe to use outside the plastic bags. You can just clip it to your jacket or whatever.

The areas you might be in, for example the downtown area of a large metropolitan city will often require a higher quality and higher powered transmitter, just like if you are way out in the country camping or when you are sitting in your car (that was just disabled by an EMP) way out in the middle of no where.

Your average range of the bargain-basement priced items is generally limited to line of sight between you and those who you desperately need to receive your emergency signal. This is an especially dangerous problem if your signal is cellular. I have seen PLBs that are no more than cell phone apps. Ever lose your cell connection or even kill your phone when you accidentally drop it into the toilet? Besides you probably had your cell phone on you when an EMP occurs. Don’t fool yourself into thinking free or cellular is good enough. More than likely, this would increase the loss of life.

The exception to this problem is to purchase a registered GPS PLB  which uses Global Positioning Satellites to find you. Find one that is one that is water-proof and buoyant. Choose the one that is rugged and highly rated. Like any electronics we buy, you pretty much get what you pay for so if you can afford it, this is not the time to look for bargain basement prices.

You can easily spend over $1,000.00 for a high quality PLB but this is usually not necessary.  I have also seen numerous units that are priced less than $100.00 although I don’t know how I would feel with a bottom of the line PLB in an emergency.

The unit I chose was found on Amazon who has units with lots of bells and whistles, some of which you just don’t need to spend the money on. The price for my PLB is in the bottom 25% price of all the units I looked at. I love the security this PLB offers and you don’t need to be rich to get one. The reviews on this unit are fabulous. Any way you look at this unit, it is a bargain since we all prefer to survive as long as is possible!

The  ACR PLB-375 ResQLink+ 406 Buoyant Personal Locator Beacon (the yellow unit shown above) is just right for me and trust me, we are not rich either. However when the water is rising or smoke is billowing I don’t want to die with the savings I made on that el-cheapo PLB still in my wallet.

When you get a Personal Locator Beacon (a GPS version), be sure to follow the instructions in the paperwork to get it registered so you can verify that it will be working before you need it. 

To illustrate just how important this aspect of your survival planning is, just know that nearly all aircraft have automatically activated ELTs (Emergency Locator Transmitters) to help searchers looking for a downed aircraft to find it quickly as well. PLB‘s are the personal version of these all-important devices. Don’t be caught dead without it!

About David Kennedy

I am a retired Senior Development Engineer for Hughes Aircraft Company. I retired from Hughes In 1997 and moved to Phoenix with my young daughter to be with my two older sons attending Arizona State University. I am a former member of the U.S. Air Force where I was an active member of the 95th Fighter Interceptor Squadron.
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