Personal locator beacon, satellite tech helps hunters, hikers lost or injured in woods


ROSEBURG, Ore. -- Imagine being lost out in the woods. It could be stressful, especially if you had no cell service.

One man this week was able to send out a distress call to authorities while lost in the Umpqua National Forest. He was found after just a few hours because he had his personal locator beacon.

The device sends out the coordinates to a satellite and a call center tells authorities where you are.

"When you send the SOS, there's a lot of things globally that go into motion. There's an actual outfit that's monitoring these things 24/7," said Tom Kress, the owner of Waldron’s Outdoor Sports in Roseburg.

A locator may seem like a great idea, but they can be expensive, and can run up to over $400.

But they can also be useful in saving someone's life.

Douglas County Search and Rescue says these devices make it easier to find someone lost or hurt in the woods.

"Because we have a location, an actual GPS spot that we're going to send people to firs, and that gives us a more pinpoint area," said Deputy Brian Melvin.

Some of the personal locators also require a monthly subscription.

"It’s kind of like a cell service, like your cell phone plan - anywhere from $14 to $100 a month," Kress said.

Outdoor experts say these devices are made for hikers who usually adventure alone.

According to Kress: “Even if you know the area, but you're going by yourself, you're at risk of falling down, breaking a leg. That kind of thing."

Search and Rescue says to pack extra food and water even if you happen to have a personal locator beacon on hand.

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