Hopedale RCMP, along with Nunatsiavut communities, recently spearheaded a program whereby 10 Satellite Personal Trackers (SPOT) were purchased through fundraising efforts and donations from community partners. They are loaned, free of charge, to those who are planning to venture out on the land. They can be signed out from Hopedale RCMP and the Hopedale Wildlife office. SPOTS are also available at RCMP offices in the communities of Makkovik, Nain, Postville and Rigolet.
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. This coincided with the time of the year where many people venture out to collect wood for next winter.
This program proved successful last weekend, as a local snowmobiler experienced mechanical difficulties approximately 20 kilometres from town. By using the SPOT device signed out from the Hopedale detachment, the snowmobiler’s exact location was plotted, and he was quickly located by the Ground Search and Rescue Team.
“The community has shown a great interest in the program” says Sgt. Darryl MacMullin of Hopedale RCMP. “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.”
Police encourage people to always make a plan when travelling on the land. Let family or friends know your route and your expected time of return. As well, it is important to dress for the conditions, and to carry supplies in case you become stranded.