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What is a Personal Locator Beacon? And is There an App for That?
Personal Safety

What is a Personal Locator Beacon? And is There an App for That?


We all have access to the public 911 system for everyday emergencies, and there are plenty of apps and other technologies to get help when we need it…

But what do you do when you’re out in the wilderness with no cell service? What if you’re out to sea and there’s no network to connect to?

When there are no cell towers to be found, people often turn to personal locator beacons as their emergency lifelines.

These life-saving devices don’t require a network connection to send a distress signal, and in a crisis, they can mean the difference between life and death.

Today, we’re going to explore what personal locator beacons are, how they work, who they’re designed for, and if there are any apps that provide a comparable service.


What is a Personal Locator Beacon?

A personal locator beacon is a portable handheld device that, when activated, sends your location information to search and rescue authorities.

These devices are designed to work whether you’re on land, at sea, in the air, or in the most remote locations on the planet.

Using a special emergency frequency, personal locator beacons allow you to send out a distress signal when your cell phone just won’t cut it — no matter where you are.


How Does a Personal Locator Beacon Work?

Activating a personal locator beacon looks different depending on what model you have, but usually, all you have to do is extend the antenna and turn on the device.

Rather than routing your distress signal through the nearest cell tower, the beacon communicates with a network of satellites to send your location information to a local search and rescue team.

These satellites, called SARSAT or Search and Rescue Satellites, are part of an international program to aid people in distress all over the world.

Once they receive your emergency signal, these satellites will reroute it to the closest receiving center back on Earth.

These locations are called Local User Terminals, and when they receive an incoming signal from a SARSAT, they alert the nearest Rescue Coordination Center.

From there, local authorities can dispatch search and rescue teams to your location.

This process may differ slightly depending on the type of personal locator beacon you use, but the use of satellite technology is standard practice, and the end goal is still the same:

To save victims from dangerous or life-threatening situations.


Who Are Personal Locator Beacons for?

These satellite-powered devices are meant for anyone at risk of being stranded in far-off locations where cell phones won’t work.

They’re often the best friend of back-country skiers, snowboarders, hikers, and other adventurers in case they get lost, injured, trapped in an avalanche, or experience other nature-related emergencies.

Pilots also bring personal locator beacons with them to send for help if their plane goes down. 

And seafarers keep them on board in case they become lost, someone goes overboard, or they start to sink. 

In fact, for many offshore operations across the world, life jackets are required to have built-in personal locator beacons. 

Otherwise, you won’t be cleared to leave the shore.


Is There an App for That?

Unfortunately, there aren’t any apps that can turn your phone into a personal locator beacon.

Cell phones aren’t made to communicate directly with satellites — at least not yet. Any existing emergency response apps need a cellular connection to get you the help you need.

But that doesn’t mean investing in a GPS alert app is a bad idea. Having an emergency lifeline in your pocket can save you or a loved one’s life in a crisis. 

That’s what makes the Rescu app such a powerful addition to your personal safety plan


Peace of Mind in the Palm of Your Hand

Whether you’re an outdoor adventurer or you simply want to travel with peace of mind, Rescu’s emergency GPS service is second to none.

In just two taps, you can alert local authorities that you’re in danger, send them relevant medical information about yourself, and inform an unlimited number of emergency contacts that something’s wrong.

There’s no need to talk to anyone on the phone, answer a series of complicated questions about your emergency, or deal with anything other than the situation at hand.

Plus, Rescu operates out of a 100% subscriber dedicated monitoring center, so you’ll never have to worry about wait times or being placed in a call queue.

For just $10 a month, you can easily dispatch help to your location anywhere in the United States fast and hassle-free.

Click or tap the buttons below to download Rescu and experience peace of mind in the palm of your hand.

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