When a NOAA satellite identifies the location of a distress signal in the United States, the information is transmitted to the SARSAT Mission Control Center at NOAA’s Satellite Operations Center in Suitland, Maryland. . From there, information is sent quickly to rescue coordination centers, operated either by the US Air Force for land rescues or by the US Coast Guard for water rescues. NOAA also supports worldwide rescues by relaying distress signal information to international SARSAT partners.
Among the success stories last year, a miner was rescued from a 20-foot shaft about 30 miles northwest of Phoenix, Arizona in the Bradshaw Mountains. The Air Force Rescue Coordination Center received the PLB alert and contacted the owner, who provided details of the distress. The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office deployed a helicopter and emergency medical units to the scene. Rescuers pulled the miner from the shaft and transported him to a Phoenix hospital for treatment of multiple injuries.
“Every rescue shows the SARSAT system is working as intended,” said Steve Volz, Ph.D., NOAA’s deputy administrator for its Satellite and Information Service. “Its lifesaving capability is built on four decades of teamwork with the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Air Force, NASA, and our international partners.
By law, beacon owners are required to register their devices online with NOAA. Registration information helps provide better and faster assistance to people in distress and reduce false alarms. He can also provide what kind of help is needed.