Interpine has recently been implementing a staged rollout of GPS Spot Messenger devices across all its operations. These units use the GPS satellites to provide the users location and communicate this through the commercial satellite phone network to enable messages to be sent to an allocated range of contacts via email, sms or even to alert emergency response centres around the world. The devices are small enough to pack away in the top flap of a bag or position on the dash of our vehicles. This allows us to track the location of all our vehicles at all times when they are out and about. The benefits in terms of fleet and staff management become endless when our staff are often working 95% of the time out of range of the normal cellular phone network and rely either on existing company radio networks if available.
The spot has started to bring peace of mind to both our managers, staff and their families.
knowing that if they get stuck, break down or just get locked behind a gate (all of which do happen in the real world more often than you might think), they can make contact with the head office / supervisors even if they are out of radio or cellular phone coverage.
if working alone the staff member carries the GPS Spot device within the forest, and again knows if they did end up having an accident they could call out for help.
when using dangerous equipment or completing a dangerous operation (riding a quad bike, clearing a tree from the roadway), they can call for immediate help or even just check in to let people know all is OK.
enjoy being able to can send a custom message to family if they are just running late and let them know they should not worry.
For the managers / supervisors
- might just be wanting to catch up with the crew, they can drive straight to where they parked their vehicle (and then radio the field survey crews on local short range UHF radios which are all carried by the staff while in the forest).
- at a glance be able to pin-point all field staff, knowing that if a forest fire or storm event was to kit the area they can see where the crews are and check if they are able to get out safety.
- knowing you can react immediately to a call for assistance, not wasting time finding out direction or location of the incident.
- knowing particularly if staff are working alone, in report parts of the country, you can login to the company website and see where your husband, boyfriend, dad, mum, son is and know approximately how long they will be away from home.
- peace of mind that Interpine are able to deal with their own emergencies quickly and effectively.
- if their forest was subject to a major fire or storm event they can locate the field crews in the forest and monitor their movement to evacuate the locality.
- and of course know when and where field crews are operating.
The biggest benefit in the device over the normal emergency locator beacon (EPIRB) is that you can send messages to just say you’re OK, or that I’m fine but would like someone to come out and help me get unstuck. EPRIB’s are often considered for “life or death situations” but there are lots of times when all you want to let people know is your OK and not to worry. Of course it still has the SOS button which means you can call for that rescue helicopter if you need one.
Unique to resource inventory and forest survey work is that field staff, are often in a different locality and potentially a different client every day of the week, the GPS Spot Messengers are a real life link to the outside world.
Photo Above: A typical view of 2 crews working in the forest.