The VOC owns 3 SPOT Satellite personal messengers.
The devices themselves were donated by the family of Jared Stanley. Although not a member of the VOC Jared was a member of the UBC Avalanche Research Group in the Atmospheric Science program, and likely would have joined the club had he been at UBC longer. Jared passed away in January 2005 while backcountry skiing at Mount Seymour, and the VOC holds an annual safety lecture in the fall in his memory.
The service has been generously donated by SPOT for 2011.
How to rent
- Any VOC member may borrow one of the SPOTs for free, after putting down a fully-refundable deposit in a similar fashion to other equipment - however large club trips get priority.
- If borrowing a SPOT for an "official club trip" the VOC will provide batteries and there is no deposit.
- If borrowing for a personal trip the VOC will not provide batteries and the deposit is $100.
When you borrow a device with the capability to launch Search and Rescue at the push of a button, you take on some responsibilities.
- READ THE MANUAL seriously, read it. That way you know how it works. A PDF version is available here.
- UPDATE THE MESSAGES so that you know what the messages you are sending actually are.
- UPDATE THE MESSAGE RECIPIENTS so that if you push the buttons the messages go where you want them.
- UPDATE THE CONTACT INFORMATION so that SAR knows who they are looking for.
Failure to do these tasks will result in you not being able to borrow the SPOTs in the future.
How to log in, change messages, etc.
- Go to the SPOT login page.
- The username and password are written on the device.
- Go to the My SPOT devices tab.
- Select the device you have.
- Under "Contact Details"->"Profile in Use" use the "view/edit" link
- If it's your first time you should create a new profile, and you can reuse it later if you like.
Where does the tracking appear?
This is the way Veenstra runs his SPOT. Maybe you'll like it too:
- Since we have tracking, if you turn tracking on people can figure out that you're OK simply by viewing the website
- This means "OK message" is redundant - so I use this message: I'm OK. I will make it out on my own, but something unanticipated happened and I'll be late. Don't call RCMP.
- Since there is a 911 button the help button is also redundant. In reality there are no situations where I'd actually want to call a friend rather than competent SAR, so I use my "HELP message" to call for SAR, but to let them know that nobody is dying imminently (ie - don't fly in bad weather, etc.): Something bad happened, nobody is in life or death peril, but we can't make it out on our own. Call RCMP.
- The 911 button automatically goes to a call-centre in Texas, who will dispatch any and all SAR resources they might be able to get ahold of.
Of course, the most important thing is that your messages are going to somebody who will actually get them and act responsibly and predictably.