If you’re headed out on the land, the chair of Rankin Inlet Search and Rescue strongly encourages you to sign out a SPOT device.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re just going outside of the community for four kilometres just to check up on your cabin, take a SPOT device,” said Wesley Innukshuk. “You never know. With wind conditions, it could get stormy out of nowhere.”
SPOT devices determine a user’s GPS location and send coordinates back to communication satellites.
The Rankin Inlet rescue organization has 20 on hand, and they’re free to sign in and sign out whenever residents need.
The devices come with buttons to indicate the user is either OK, they’ve had a breakdown or they’re in an emergency and need help. Pressing the SOS button will send a message to the Emergency Measures Organization in Iqaluit, which will then be relayed to Rankin’s search and rescue team.
“It’s mainly used for emergencies, but they’re pretty handy,” said Innukshuk. “Before all this technology came out, we had trouble searching for missing hunters.”
Even on short trips, whether to visit a cabin or hunt near town, weather conditions or other unforeseen circumstances can become dangerous, said Innukshuk, and there’s no harm in signing out a SPOT device just to make sure.
“I recommend anyone that’s going out to take a SPOT device,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re going for a week trip, a day trip or for a few hours.”
The devices can be signed out at 15-14 Inulik Street.