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Emergency app for bushwalkers is only as good as your provider

Thursday, 9th January, 2014

By Nick Gibbs

NSW police are encouraging bushwalkers to download the “Emergency+” app to help them stay safe before they embark on their next adventure.

The App uses a mobile phone‘s GPS function which enables walkers to provide emergency call takers with their location information.

Geoff Spangler from the Barrier Rangers Bush Walking Club agreed that the app sounded useful for those closer to metropolitan regions, but explained that exploring the local area provided its own unique challenges.

“We live in a part of the world where if you’re not with Telstra and you get 10kms outside of Broken Hill, you haven‘t got coverage,” he said.

“Even with Telstra you‘re not going to be walking on major roads near the transmitters, often the only communication is via satellite phones.”

Mr Spangler advised that the greatest preparation for walkers around Broken Hill was to follow the old mantra of carrying ample food and water, wearing appropriate clothing and footwear for the conditions and letting a third party know where you were heading.

“Better still is to join an organised group who know the local area and the great thing about the Barrier Rangers is once a new member has been out a few times we get them to lead their own walk,” he said.

The Emergency+ app also includes the SES and Police Assistance Line as options so non emergency calls can be transferred to the most appropriate numbers. 

Having a better idea on the location of people in distress is a major advantage for rescue operations according to Rescue and Bomb Disposal Unit Commander, Inspector Brenton Charlton.

“One of the greatest difficulties is knowing exactly where to send the rescue team because when you‘re lost, you don‘t know where you are,” he said.

“The Emergency+ app has a GPS function and displays the approximate latitude and longitude, which can be passed onto the Triple Zero operator to help pinpoint the location for the rescue.

“This saves valuable time in a rescue operation, enabling us to send the appropriate resources without delay.”

The app is available free of charge on iOS and Andrioid devices through the Google Play and Apple App Stores.

This Saturday will provide the next opportunity for those interested in joining the Barrier Rangers to get a taste of bush walking in the local area with a sunset to early evening walk heading beyond Round Hill toward Stevens Creek with leader Matt Bromson.

Those interested are encouraged to contact Matt on 0428 879 777.

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