Hopedale RCMP and the Nunatsiavut communities recently spearheaded the initiative to purchase 10 of the devices through fundraising efforts and donations from community partners.
The SPOTs are loaned free of charge to people planning to go into the wilderness and can be signed out from the RCMP detachment and the wildlife office in Hopedale.
The program was successful last weekend as a local snowmobiler experienced mechanical difficulties some 20 kilometres from town, but had one of the devices with him.
The snowmobiler’s exact location was plotted and he was quickly located by the Ground Search and Rescue Team.
SPOTs are also available at RCMP offices in the communities of Makkovik, Nain, Postville and Rigolet.
“The community has shown a great interest in the program,” Sgt. Darryl MacMullin of Hopedale RCMP said in a news release Friday.
“We are seeing more and more individuals signing them out and this happy ending proves they are worth it. There is no doubt these devices help keep people safe.”
Upon sign out, trip details are gathered and kept by police. If a search is necessary, the person can be quickly located using the information provided and the tracking coordinates on the device.
A community awareness campaign was recently started through the Hopedale radio station and the town’s Facebook page, coinciding with the time of the year where many people venture out to collect wood for next winter.
Police encourage people to always make a plan when travelling on the land and to let family or friends know intended route and expected time of return.
As well, it is important to dress for the conditions and to carry supplies in case you become stranded.