Dwight DEvelyn, YCSO Media Relations Coordinator
On February 28, 2009, at approximately 6 P.M., the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office Communication Center received a rescue request from the Arizona Department of Emergency Management in Phoenix. Staff in Phoenix had just received an emergency assistance signal from a “Spot” satellite tracking device which provided detailed GPS coordinates and contact party information. YCSO personnel learned that the person who activated the device, 58-year-old Geoffrey Smith from Prescott, had become separated from an off-road group and was missing. The parties were inhibited by snow conditions trying to leave the area.
Members of Smith’s party, who returned safely, indicated Smith’s off-road vehicle was having difficulty in the snow. As a result, Smith was trying to walk back to his truck parked on Senator Highway near Crown King. Rescue personnel also learned Smith was with his wife and was not equipped for an overnight stay. Thanks to consistent updates from the personal tracking device, YCSO rescue personnel were able to find Smith and his wife just after midnight at the exact GPS coordinates provided. Both were in good condition and very glad they had this device with them. YCSO personnel believe this may be the first time such a device has been used to locate missing persons in Yavapai County.
This device uses both the GPS satellite network to determine the owner’s location and its own computer network to transmit that information to friends, family or an emergency service center. This personal safety device allows customers to notify friends and family of their location and status, and to send for emergency assistance in time of need, completely independent of cellular phone or wireless coverage. The device also allows selected contacts to track the progress of the user via a “Google” mapping program.
YCSO rescue personnel would like to remind those enjoying the Arizona outdoors to avoid the temptation to leave your group and seek an independent way out.
(YCSO does not endorse any particular product, but provides brand information so you have the opportunity to research these new and potentially life saving technologies. For more information on the “Spot” personal tracker, visit www.findmespot.com).