A change in UK law now makes it possible for members of the public to use personal locator beacons (PLBs) to assist search and rescue services.  This small piece of equipment can be bought by those involved in outdoor recreational pursuits or working alone in rural areas.  In return, (upon purchase) they are asked to complete and return a free registration card.

RAF Rescue Helicopter

When activated, the PLB send a distress alert message that will be picked up by satellite and relayed to the UK Mission Control Centre (UKMCC), co-located with the Air Rescue Co-ordination Centre (ARCC), currently at RAF Kinloss.  The device will transmit unique identification information, providing positional data and sends out a continuous homing transmission.  The UKMCC will process the transmission and verify co-ordinates of the activation before informing the relevant police force.

The PLB will help emergency services to locate casualties and has the potential to remove the need for lengthy, arduous, expensive search activity and reduce the overall risks to the rescue teams.

Could one of your characters possess such a devise and thereby summon assistance at a critical moment?

Don’t forget to book your place on the Crime Fiction – Making it Real weekend workshop March 2012


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