In Reach set up

How to Set up Your InReach for Effective Rescue

by Richard Barber

Lessons Learned

I have now been involved with 3 Heli evacuations from remote locations, most of the information here is as pertinent any location.

Before getting into the detail there are a few points that apply to everyone.

  • Be under no illusions, you or someone you know will be badly injured or worse paragliding.
  • Medics often talk about the golden hour and the importance of getting help within one. 
  • Ensuring you have the best possible SAR/repatriation/insurance plan could have a significant bearing on the outcome of an incident.

Garmin has protocols and ensuring you have the right information is crucial.

  1. The emergency contacts will be the first people Garmin contact in the event the SOS is pressed. The natural reaction is to put in your next of kin, this may be a bad idea, you are best putting in people who are:
    1. In the locality with access to comms
    2. Good in an emergency. 

I would suggest a good paragliding friend with you on the trip and the comp/trip organiser, again ideally someone who’ll have access to Comms.

  1. As well as the SAR message, have one of the preset messages to go directly to the comp organiser and your other emergency contacts + next of kin. 
  2. If you have an incident and are unsure of your injuries, press the SOS and then work out what help is needed (it’d be a pity to not press it and then end up unconscious).
  3. Think carefully about the insurance and SAR cover. I have been impressed with Global Rescue, they have a team ready to get on the case when things go wrong and seemingly the right contacts to get things moving quickly. 
  4. If at a comp the organisers will likely know and have contact with the local SAR services, so they may be able to expedite your rescue quicker than GR/Garmin, having them as your emergency contacts will help.
  5. Info in your notes section at a comp should always include fall from height remote location. 
  6. If somewhere outside Europe and not at a comp you may also want your credit card to avoid delays surrounding payment for SAR etc (claim back later). A friend didn’t get the first available heli after a serious incident as he didn’t have the right insurance, it took 3hrs+ to get to him, by which time it was too late
  7. Consider 1 minute tracking, 10 minute tracking is not enough (think about the golden hour)
    1 second logging and expedition plan

For expeditions

Have a premade group for your expedition
Ensure each person knows who else is in it
Assign roles in advance
Decide ‘actions on’
Always have a return flight booked (insurance is far easier if you are replacing something)
The more remote the more planning is needed

I am a paraglider pilot, SOS = serious fall from height.

Global Rescue Policy XXXX, SAR, medevac and repat. Acc details XXXXXX I’ve medical travel insurance with BigCat. Pol:XXXXXXXX Please call the Medical Emergency service. Phone UK +44 (0)20 8603 9485 Scheme ref: XX/XXXX If there is any doubt about picking me up having pressed the Red button, DO NOT WAIT my credit card is ;- Amex: XXXX XXXXX XXXXX XXX EXP: XX/XXMy
mobile is: +447860103003

See also Gavin McClurg’s advice from his Cloudbase Mayhem pages