REMOTE lone-worker monitoring system provider Trackplot has revealed the details of the first real SOS alarm since the company’s conception in 2009.

SOS is integral to Trackplot’s remote lone-worker monitoring system, being one of the GPS device functions, and can be triggered in a life-threatening medical emergency. The GPS device works using satellites and does not need mobile phone signal, so a lone worker is able to raise the alarm to rapidly locate their position even in remote regions.

Trackplot’s first SOS alarm was initiated by environmental engineering specialists McGowan, based in the Highlands of Scotland.

The alert was raised in October 2019 by McGowan employees, who were working in a remote peatland restoration site near Roy Bridge, when they discovered the body of a missing walker from the local area.

At 9.53am a McGowan employee pressed the SOS button on their GPS device and the escalation procedure began.

By 10.01am GEOS (Global Emergency Operating System) in Houston, USA, received the SOS message by satellite into their secure call centre. The call centre established the location of the SOS was in the UK and despatched an alert to ARCC (Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre) to start the emergency response. While this was happening, the call centre also contacted the nominated emergency contacts at McGowan to verify if the SOS was real or a false alarm.

On confirmation this was a true SOS, further details were gathered to brief the emergency services as fully as possible of the situation. Approximately 15 minutes after the SOS alarm was raised, a helicopter landed on site supported by the police.

Trackplot said the swift escalation proved how reliable and responsive the SOS procedure is, reassuring customers of the value of the system in a crisis.

The McGowan site had very limited mobile phone reception. One of the employees had tried to send a text message to the main office to request help, but it was not delivered until after the emergency services arrived.

Emma Thomas, director at Trackplot, said: “Our motto is ‘Safe, simple, secure’, and we strive to keep lone workers safe. Responding quickly to an incident to prevent loss of life and to remove anxiety and stress from colleagues and family is our aim.”

Ross Smith, director at McGowan, added: “McGowan works frequently in remote, rural locations and to safeguard our employees we use Trackplot.

“Through this experience our staff and management are reassured that, if needed, the Trackplot system alerts the emergency services who can respond extremely quickly and exactly where required.”

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