What to do in a far-away emergency?
October 15, 2011 4:34 AM   Subscribe

I'm thinking of going backpacking with a couple of friends in Southeast Asia for two weeks, and using a GPS tracker with an alert function. Only trouble is, who should I alert, and what could they do?

I was thinking about how to keep friends and family updated and have had good experiences sailing with Yellowbrick trackers. These have a small red alert button on the bottom, which, when pressed, sends out SMS and email alerts with a position to up to ten people.

The trouble is, what should those ten people then do? I don't have any friends or family in Thailand, so what would be the best course of action?

FYI, in case it's relevant, my friends and family all live in the UK.
posted by edbyford to Travel & Transportation around Thailand (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
One of the people you send the alert to should be your nation's embassy in Bangkok.
Contact your embassy there, explain the situation - ask who is the appropriate person to alert.
posted by Flood at 4:53 AM on October 15, 2011

Depending on the technology... if it is an EPIRB, the responsible authority (where the device is registered) will be alerted. The responsible authority in the UK is United Kingdom Maritime and Coastguard Agency. They will then contact the local rescue authority where the SOS is sent.

It is to use when you have an emergency situation, in the mountain for example. But do not use it when you are being robbed or in situations where you need help on that instant.

Read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distress_radiobeacon#How_they_work to know more.
posted by bbxx at 5:20 AM on October 15, 2011

@Flood - that's a good idea, hopefully they will be amenable to that. If not, any other ideas anyone? Anything friends or family could do from home?

@bbxx - I'm familiar with EPIRBs for sailing. This is not rated as an EPIRB, merely a tracking device (for sea or land) with an alert function. For more see this link.
posted by edbyford at 6:31 AM on October 15, 2011

You are looking for a Spot Tracker. Note that they only guarantee to notify the local authorities so you might want to see if there's a local or regional service that offers and actual response for a fee.

If you're not going backpacking-backpacking and only hostel backpacking I'd just get a local phone and make use of it's speed dial functions. The best person to call in those siutations is typically the local embassy, the owner of the hotel/ hostel where you're staying or a local fixer.
posted by fshgrl at 8:52 AM on October 15, 2011

Also cellphones work indoors.
posted by fshgrl at 8:54 AM on October 15, 2011

In my experience the UK embassy in Bangkok is worse than useless and wont do a thing to help you. Dont rely on them for anything.

Best advice for a safety minded backpacker? Dont get on any motobikes.
posted by the cuban at 9:39 AM on October 15, 2011

First of all, don't be afraid!!! Backpacking literally changed the way I think about traveling. I don't go on vacation anymore, I go on adventures.

I've been to some pretty dicey places and stayed in places that were even worse. At the end of the day, your wits are your best friend.

Everywhere you go, there will be internet access, so just keep your family updated every few days.

Push yourself out of your comfort zone, you will have an amazing time.
posted by darkgroove at 2:11 PM on October 15, 2011

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