By Greg Bartlett
My dad likes hunting, and my family is very “outdoorsy.” We’ve been on hikes, camping trips, and so on ever since I can remember. Since there are seven people in my family, we’ve never really had to worry about someone hiking alone, but for those people who don’t hike, camp, or hunt with family or friends, being alone could be a serious safety hazard.
For instance, a while back a hiker fell on a trail, broke a leg, and couldn’t get to civilization, which was a few miles away. He had a cell phone, but the mountains around him blocked his reception. For many people in his situation, death from injuries or exposure would occur soon if help didn’t arrive quickly. Even if family or friends realize the hiker is missing and call park rangers to assist with a search, finding him is unlikely without knowing the hiker’s exact location.
However, this hiker’s story had a happy ending. In addition to his cell phone, he was carrying a GPS tracking device. His family was able to find his exact location, and before long rescuers found him alive and, other than his leg, healthy.
Yesterday another man went through a similar experience. While hunting in Vermont, he became lost and had to spend the night in the woods. He called his friend, and his friend was able to help park officials to use the information from the GPS tracking device he had in order to find him by late morning. Naturally, the hunter was cold, tired, and hungry, but he was safe.
For those who want to hike, especially in dangerous or isolated areas, bringing along a companion can make the difference between life and death. For those who can’t bring someone, a cell phone is helpful, but the battery could die or the reception could be blocked. A GPS tracking device gives an added level of safety, whether or not you’re hiking, hunting, or camping with someone else. It keeps track of your exact location, where you’ve been, and your speed, and, in the event of an emergency, could save your life. If your GPS tracking device has a panic button, when you press it immediately it will send an alert to family, friends, or emergency personnel, making them instantly aware that you need help and giving them your exact location so that they can actually help you in time.