Nunavut buys 200 new SPOT devices
Government says units have been tested across the territory
The Government of Nunavut has bought 200 Generation 3 SPOT devices from Global Star after putting them through rigorous testing, including tossing one in Resolute Bay.
The units are designed to help locate people lost on the land.
Ed Zebedee, Nunavut's director of Protection Services, says after extensive testing the units have been shown to work all over the Arctic.
"We tested for almost a year before we went with the program," he said.
"We buried them in the snow and left for a week and then dug them out and activated them. We sent them up to Resolute Bay and we tested them up there. We threw one in the bay. They're supposed to float, so we threw one in the bay and activated it."
Nunavut already has 500 SPOT devices available across the territory; every community has about 20 units to loan out. The 200 new units will be sent out to replace lost or damaged units.
Zebedee says the new units aren't much different than the older ones, aside from being a bit smaller and having the additional safety feature of covers for the buttons to reduce accidental activations.
So far this year, there have been 143 search and rescues in Nunavut. People travelling on the land are being encouraged to use the Spot units.
"We would prefer that we do not have to mount a massive search, or put searchers at risk," Zebedee said.
"[If] we know where you are, we're just sending out a team to your location. Sometimes it's only two people that need to go out. Families aren't stressed. They know they're going to get rescued and that takes a lot of stress and worry out of people."
Nunavut's SPOT loan-out program costs about $75,000 a year, about the same as four days worth of searching.