Life-Saving Technology to Take Center Stage at Search and Rescue Summit

 CENTUM will present at the Airborne Public Safety Association Rescue Summit in Anaheim at the end of February, talking about how Lifeseeker can save lives. The conference, running in conjunction with HELI-EXPO 2024, will focus on the vital role VTOL aircraft play in rescue operations. Héctor Estévez, CENTUM CEO, will show how Lifeseeker helps search and rescue professionals find missing people quickly and efficiently, saving lives and optimizing operational costs.

It does so by treating mobile phones as beacons, meaning the only requirement is that the phone is turned on. There is no need for the phone to be connected to a network, or for the owner to be able to use it.

Estévez said, “Our mission is to save lives. Finding people is difficult, particularly in the dark and when they are injured. Our technology flies on helicopters and drones, and it can pinpoint someone’s phone to within one or two meters. It often means the difference between life and death.”

The technology is used by more than 35 SAR operators throughout North America, Europe and Asia, following extensive testing and authorizations. Users include the Royal Canadian Air Force, REGA, the Swiss Air Force and the Vigili del Fuoco. And the Norwegian Ministry of Justice and Public Security recently selected Lifeseeker following a highly competitive bidding process.

In the past few weeks, Lifeseeker has been used to affect many recues, with three standing out. An elderly woman has been rescued after she crashed her car in a thick forest. An injured mountain biker was found after lying injured overnight. And a 75-year-old was found after he lost his bearings when he slipped picking mushrooms.

In the first case, a 79-year-old woman had an accident in her car, falling down an embankment near Moutier in Switzerland, and becoming trapped in her car. She ended up in the trees, with no sign of the accident on the road. That made it almost impossible to track her whereabouts. However, her mobile phone was turned on, which the Lifeseeker on the Rega helicopter was able to track. Rega immediately passed the information to the Bern canton police. The woman, who was slightly injured, was given medical treatment on the scene then taken to hospital, making a full recovery.

After a man failed to return home after a day’s mountain biking in Valais, his wife called the emergency services. He was found the next morning thanks to Lifeseeker deployed on a Swiss Army Air Force Puma helicopter. He was also injured, which is why he was unable to get himself home.

In Italy, on the coast just south of Rome, a man was out collecting mushrooms when he slipped and lost his way. His daughter reported him as missing and the search started. Very quickly, he was located thanks to Lifeseeker flying on a Lazio SAPR drone. They passed the information to the firefighters, who found the man and returned him home safely.

Estévez said, “I hope he managed to take his mushrooms home too! The serious point is that all three of these cases show how easy it is to get lost and how hard it is to find people. Anything we can do to help search and rescue teams must be good. And there is no question Lifeseeker made all the difference in these three incidents, meaning they were able to return to their homes and their families.”

The APSA 2024 Rescue Summit is on Monday 26 February and HELI-EXPO 2024 is running from 26-29 February. CENTUM is exhibiting at stand 7125.

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