I don't know about everywhere, but here you could call the Sheriffs Office and they could send a message to what ever county you are in as a "welfare concern" and have them check...I know we use to do it in the "old days"...
Thanks. I presume you're a retired LEO or other emergency person? Is it easy to contact the right people a long ways away at night or on a weekend? If so then the local people may be the right people after all.
13 years with the Sheriff Dept. took medical..The smaller the dept. the more likely you are to get something done faster..not near the people to go through to get the job done. They will be able to get the infomation to the right agency or refer her to the agency to contact in thier area...
2003 Four Winds Infinity 37'
2011 Lance 855
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Since this is a boondocking forum - and I don't mean a Wal mart parking lot - don't become over confident in being able to call on your cell phone.
That is my point, I want someone to come looking for us if we don't show up in civilization at the expected time.
In Colorado there are many mountain areas that do not have cell phone reception. Some of these areas can be as close to towns, major highways, etc. as 10 miles but no cell service. Here is an example that some of you might recognize. The west side of Loveland Pass near I-70. You can get cell reception on the east side, up to the top of the pass, from the I-70 area. It is 8 miles from the top of the pass to the Keystone Resort area. For at least 6 miles there is no cell service.
One thing I've learned is that I often do get service way out in the boonies if I go to a mountain peak. Highways are usually at valley bottoms and through passes where the terrain shields the radio waves. Get up on a ridgeline or peak and cell service is better.
Part of it is learning where the cell towers out in the mountains are. Many times fire lookouts have served as locations to add towers because the serve a long stretch of highway and they already have power. Look for red beacons at night - often that is a cell tower.
One thing I will do is if I know that there is someplace like this, I can make a short trip and then get service so I can check in every couple of days. The shorter the window where I will check in, the shorter the time that I'm going to wait if I really need help.
The local sheriff in Colorado is usually the contact for SAR - Search and Rescue - missions. Many of the old mountain passes change counties at the summit. So often searches involve a couple of sheriff departments.
There are some problems with your thinking that you can go to a ridge top to find cell service. In Colorado many of these ridge tops still do not have cell service.
Colorado has 58 peaks over 14,000 ft. 737 peaks over 13,000 ft. And over 1,300 peaks over 12,000 ft. Then add the 11,000 and 10,000 peaks and you have a lot of ridge tops.
But a more important problem is why you are overdue? Often people are overdue because they are sick or injured. They can't physically walk or crawl from where they are injured to get to a ridge top. An area that is very popular is two of Colorado's 14ers. Grays Peak and Torreys Peak. The popular trail head is only 3 1/2 miles off I-70. They are the two highest points on the Continental Divide. You can get cell signals from the tops of these peaks due to being near I-70.
There has been a lot of SAR missions over the years in this area. But often from where the people have been injured is 1,000 to 2,000 feet below the summit ridges. Not just a short walk.
On a busy summer weekend there may be 200 to 300 people hiking up the popular Stevens Gulch Trail. But on the other side of Grays is Peru Creek and Horseshoe Basin. I have hiked that area many times. Instead of 200 to 300 people you might be lucky if you see 5 people the entire day. Sometimes no one else. And there is no cell service there but it a beautiful area with a lot of scenery and mining history to see.
A PLB can give you access where a cell phone will not. A lot of people use the Spot PLB. But there are are some problems reported with the SPOT. I did research and I got a Fast Find from McMurdo Ltd. Spot uses commercial satellites. Fast Find uses military satellites. More satellites and more coverage. It doesn't have some of the features like E-mail, etc. But the reviews I read said it was more reliable.
Some of the most beautiful areas are the most remote. There is a higher degree of risk involved but be as prepared as you can be. Some people want zero risk. The only solution then is to just not go.
There are some problems with your thinking that you can go to a ridge top to find cell service.
But a more important problem is why you are overdue? Often people are overdue because they are sick or injured. They can't physically walk or crawl from where they are injured to get to a ridge top.
You are completely missing what I said. My point about being able to pick up remote cell service is that you can give more precise updates and that is all. The more often I update, the smaller the search area.
I fully intend to give a date where I must give an update, and if I don't they are to start looking from where I last was and where I intend to go.
Bite the bullet and get a SPOT unit. Press the "OK" button each time you reach a campsite. Then if your relatives haven't heard from you in a couple of days, they can call highway patrol in the state of your last report and give them the GPS coordinates of your last report.
If you take hikes, carry SPOT and press the "911" button if you're really in trouble. SAR will be sent. There's also a "Need Help" button that notifies only your contact person(s), not SAR.
I've used SPOT the last 5 years or so when I travel 6 months out of the year. My kids get email with my GPS coordinates of each campsite. It always works, except under dense tree cover. Fortunately, I've only had to use the "OK" button.
If she doesn't know where you are I'd have her call your cell number. I assume it would be with you wherever you go. If YOU are unable to answer then one of the other folks with you should be able to. If you use ICE in your personal directory and something tragic happens to all of you then those who find you can find the ICE number and contact her.
If you are in an area where you are thinking of PLB's, SPOT's or emergency beacons, you are not in cell phone coverage. It takes me less than an hour to be out of cell phone coverage and I live in the 2nd largest city in the state!!
Back to what I think the OP's question actually was... who should his point of contact call in case she hasn't heard from them:
A few years back, I was living about 3 1/2 hours from my mom. Her April Fools joke was to call me and tell me she was having chest pains and thought she was having a heart attack. Fortunately, she stopped me - but my first inkling was to start with the local 911, explain the situation and that they'd be able to coordinate contact with the 911 in her area. In this case, I knew exactly where she was at (grew up there), but didn't have the first clue how to dial 911 to a different area and/or find out the local sheriff's office. I figured (and still do) - it would have been quicker to call 911 and explain something than to look up the number myself.
In another world, when I leave a float plan for kayaking - technically it would be the Coast Guard who would come looking for me if I didn't check in and my wife ever needed to have someone come looking for me. BUT- my instructions are for her to call 911 and tell them that she has a marine emergency.