June 30, 2009 – The SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger™ successfully notified emergency rescue authorities of an elderly man with chest pains on the remote Alaska Highway of British Columbia. With no phone service, Gary Sleeper used his SPOT Messenger to alert the Emergency Response Center that he was in an emergency situation and needed assistance.
In May, Mr. Sleeper was driving with his parents from Texas to Anchorage, Alaska, up the Alaska Highway. Knowing he would be out of cell phone coverage for long periods of time, he brought his along his SPOT Messenger.
About 100 miles outside Fort Nelson, Canada, his father told him that he was having chest pains and needed medical assistance. The individual used his SPOT Messenger to send out a 911 message. With an urgent need to get his father medical assistance at the nearest hospital, he started driving back to Fort Nelson.
When the International Emergency Rescue Coordination Center (IERCC) received his 911 message, they contacted his wife, who told the IERCC that Gary and his parents were driving North on the Alaska Highway en route to Anchorage. With the user’s SPOT still in 911 mode transmitting every 5 minutes, the IERCC subsequently told his wife that they could see he was heading south toward Fort Nelson on the map.
“When the folks at the IERCC told my wife I was headed back to Fort Nelson, she realized I had a problem, since I was heading south instead of north,” said Mr. Sleeper. “She was able to describe the make and model of the vehicle we were driving in.”
The IERCC immediately notified the Canadian authorities, which dispatched a paramedic to intercept the man and his father on the highway. “I can’t tell you how relieved I was to see an ambulance appear. We transferred my father to the ambulance and he was rushed to Fort Nelson while receiving evaluation and medical treatment.”
Unlike any other cell phone or GPS device, SPOT has the ability to work where cell phones don’t and communicate like a GPS receiver can’t. With the IERCC coordinating the rescue, authorities had relevant information to make an efficient rescue by using information from the IERCC, his wife and his GPS coordinates transmitted by his SPOT device.
“The folks at SPOT handled the situation in a very kind and professional manner,” added Mr. Sleeper. “They even contacted my wife to let her know the paramedics were on the way. I could not be more pleased with how the folks at SPOT handled the situation. I live in Alaska, and regularly take my SPOT Messenger along when I am snowmobiling or boating. Fortunately, I have never had to use it, other than to check in with my wife and let her know I’m doing ok.”
Used with permission from SPOT LLC