My phone rang at 2:27 pm. Janessa was on the other end:
“What’s going on dad?”
“What are you talking about?” I said.
It turns out the technology I use to reassure my family that I am okay works very well to inform them when I am not.
As it should.
She told me that someone from DeLorme — a company that makes GPS devices — called and said we sent an SOS. I could hear the panic in her voice, but told her we were okay, and that I had to call her back.
I hadn’t updated the numbers on my contact info; the cell number I had was disconnected, so they called the next one on the list.
We immediately got off the phone and called 911.
The dispatcher knew exactly who I was, and where I was, due to the coordinates sent from my Inreach. He asked if everything was okay, and confirmed my location.
But then he corrected himself, saying, “Actually I know where you are, are you sure everything at Cantlie Lake is okay”?
He patched me through to the member of the RCMP who was working to dispatch a helicopter to check on us because we hadn’t answered the messages DeLorme was sending to the Inreach device. After a brief conversation he understood that it was an accident and we were okay.
Emily, from DeLorme, called the girls to let them know that all was well; they were rather shaken up. I tried to reassure them that I am a very proficient outdoorsman.
“That is why we were so scared, you wouldn’t hit the button unless something very bad happened,” Hayley told me. We’ve used devices like these for years, and throughout most of the territory — to say good night to the girls, tell them how we were doing, and even calling in help from Chris, to pick up my boat when the truck broke down.
Technology can be an amazing thing, but if it’s misused, like it was this time, it can bring worry to our families. When you use the various spot and Delorme devices make sure you know how they work, and on the Delorme, make sure the lock is secured on the SOS, in order to avoid a situation like this.
If the helicopter did come for us it would have been the most expensive trip to Cantlie Lake ever.
I would like to extend my thanks to the RCMP member; I didn’t get his name. I’d also like to thank Emily from DeLorme, and the 911 crew for their care and concern.
In the future I will feel a lot better traveling with the knowledge that they have my back in the actual event of an emergency.