Incredible story of SPOT’s 4,000th rescue

By Doug Williams
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Michael Herrera is a retired firefighter and a fan of the SPOT device. This enabled a speedy rescue after he crashed his motorcycle when he was riding alone in a remote part of DeKalb County, Alabama. It was then that he was able to use his experience in responding to emergencies, this time for his own rescue.

He found himself alone and badly injured in an area where there was zero signal for his phone. Until this incident, his SPOT device had only been used to assure Michael’s wife of his safety and used to track his location as he rode in the wilderness.

Rescue ambulance vans

Herrera had quite extensive injuries, having broken three ribs and a collarbone. His lung had also partially collapsed. Fortunately, he was able to reach for his SPOTGen3, and he hit the SOS button. It only took forty minutes before an ATV and an ambulance arrived. He was taken off to a hospital where they dealt with the injuries and sent him on his way.

Having been on the other side of search and rescue in his profession, it was gratifying that the SPOT was able to get the message over and notify emergency services of his situation.

SPOT has been on the market since 2007, and as a new type of satellite-based communication device, it has grabbed the attention of many outdoor enthusiasts worldwide. SPOT uses Globalstar satellites and can link to anywhere on Earth. The device is not only a GPS tracker but can also be utilized as an emergency beacon in the case of an emergency situation. One can also send a message to somebody if a time of need arises.

A SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger in a flotation case – Author: – CC BY 2.0

SPOT devices are an affordable GPS tracking tool which is also able to transmit messages, and not only in the case of an emergency. Where there is no cell phone signal, people at home can be reassured of the safety of family members who have headed out into the wilderness.

Of course, users will need to familiarize themselves with the device before they leave on their trip, but the operation is simple. However, one needs to guard against inappropriate use or messages being transmitted accidentally, leading to unnecessary deployment of emergency services. In most cases, however, they are a reassuring line of communication with a continuous connection to a satellite signal.

The rescue of Herrera was the 4,000th recorded rescue that was the result of a message via a SPOT device. This milestone saw Herrera and his wife invited to Covington, L.A., to meet staff at SPOT headquarters. Herrera, with the experience of a firefighter, has always been meticulous about reliable gear for work situations and personal adventures on his motorcycle.

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