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Monday, January 24, 2011

How Technology Saves Lives

Technology can save lives. But the report out of the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA] shows in stark, dramatic fashion just how crucial technology is to protecting you and your families from harm or even death.

Technology Saves LivesNOAA says that last year, its “satellites were critical in the rescues of 295 people from life-threatening situations throughout the United States and its surrounding waters.”

That’s a huge deal. How did the satellites help?

“The satellites picked up distress signals from emergency beacons carried by downed pilots, shipwrecked boaters and stranded hikers, and relayed the information about their location to first responders on the ground,” NOAA says.

And NOAA says “of the 295 saves last year, 180 people were rescued from the water, 43 from aviation incidents, and 72 in land situations where they used their handheld personal locator beacons."

What are these satellites exactly? Well, NOAA says they are “polar-orbiting and geostationary satellites” which work along with Russia’s COSPAS spacecraft as part of the international Search and Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking system, called COSPAS-SARSAT.

NOAA says “This system uses a network of satellites to quickly detect and locate distress signals from emergency beacons onboard aircraft and boats, and from smaller, handheld personal locator beacons called PLBs.”

This is how I like my taxpayer money spent. Bravo to NOAA.

Which states saw the most NOOA rescues? Alaska had the most people rescued last year with 77, NOAA says, followed by Florida with 37, and West Virginia with 17, the latter involving those aboard a downed Army Reserve helicopter.

“With each rescue, the COSPAS-SARSAT system performs the way it was intended — as a real, life-saving network,” said Chris O’Connors, program manager for NOAA SARSAT, in a statement.

And it gets even cooler. NOAA says that when a NOAA satellite ferrets out the exact “location of a distress signal within the United States or its surrounding waters, the information is relayed to the SARSAT Mission Control Center based at NOAA’s Satellite Operations Facility in Suitland, Md.” From there, that information is quickly bounced over to a Rescue Coordination Center, operated by either the U.S. Air Force, for land rescues, or the U.S. Coast Guard, for water rescues.

This is the 29th year of this fine collaboration, COSPAS-SARSAT, which has already been recognized with supporting more than 28,000 rescues worldwide, according to NOAA, including more than 6,500 in the United States and its surrounding waters.

Dave Lindahl Scam

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