This post probably isn't about what you think - people calling for help when they don't need it or are too lazy.
This is about a particular use of Satellite Emergency Messaging Devices like SPOT and inReach that stems from a combination of unreasonable expectations, not understanding the technology and bad user interface.
The scenario is when someone goes on a trip and tells their loved ones to expect an "I'm OK" message from them every night. After a few nights if the "I'm OK" doesn't arrive the family calls SAR. We head out and "rescue" someone who is downright surprised to see us, claiming that they had been dutifully pressing the button every night.
Here's the issue. The SEND devices do not work as advertised. They take a lot longer to send the message than most people think. When you're in a valley, or in tall canopy it can take as long as 20 minutes. In cloudy or rainy conditions it could take longer.
Here's the second issue, and this is party opinion. Not receiving the "I'm OK" and activating SAR is not how these devices were intended to be used. There's a lot of reasons why a message may or may not be received and there's most likely no reason to worry. This sets up a kind of "no news is bad news" scenario, or what I like to call "Negative Option Rescue" in which SAR gets called and has no choice but to respond "just in case" wasting time and resources.
For more info on specific cases including two I was personally involved in see my blog
For the most recent case of this see this news article
These devices are supposed to save time and resources and I fear they are doing the opposite. So far I've responded
to four SEND-based calls and only two were "real".
Please tell your friends and networks who use SEND devices to
1) understand how the device works
2) understand the limitations
3) think before setting in place a "negative option rescue" scenario