Just four months before changing over to the 406 MHz frequency standard for EPIRBs, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration marked a new milestone: 6,000 people rescued in the United States by the COSPAS-SARSAT system.
“With an average of more than 250 rescues each year in the United States alone, it’s clear this system is a valuable tool in saving lives,” said Chris O’Connors, program manager for NOAA-SARSAT, in a statement.
He noted that older emergency beacons operating on the 121.5 and 243 MHz frequencies will be phased out by Feb. 1. The 406 MHz will become the new standard because these beacons can be detected instantly and provide for global coverage. They are also more accurate and provide responders with important registration information from the owner.
“We’re encouraging all 121.5 MHz beacon owners to make the switch now to the 406 so their distress signals will always be heard,” said NOAA Corps Lt. Jeffrey Shoup, adding that the 6,000th rescue involved an older 121.5 MHz beacon.