Equipped To Survive Foundation, Inc. Equipped To Survive Foundation
Press Release
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May 12, 2004

Equipped To Survive Foundation Plans
Independent Testing of
Upgraded McMurdo Emergency Beacons

McMurdo Ltd. has announced plans to offer owners of their GPS-enabled 406 MHz emergency beacons a software and firmware upgrade in apparent response to the announced results of the Equipped To Survive Foundation's evaluation of these beacons. This independent evaluation revealed that these McMurdo EPIRBs and PLBs did not deliver promised location acquisition performance in "real-world conditions."

In this testing, off-the-shelf McMurdo "Fastfind Plus 406 MHz Personal Location Beacons"(also known as the Fastfind Plus 406 MHz PLB) and "Precision 406 MHz GPS EPIRBs"(also known as G4 406 MHz GPS EPIRB) failed to reliably acquire a GPS location "fix" under operational real-world conditions. The tests thus revealed that the purchasers of these beacons who paid a premium for the added GPS technology in anticipation of potentially shortening rescue response with faster location information and increased location precision - are apparently not getting what they paid for. Of greater concern is that this lack of GPS data could result in tragedy that might have otherwise been prevented.

In its continuing effort to serve consumers, Equipped to Survive Foundation feels obligated to conduct independent tests of these upgraded beacons in similar fashion to the original testing. Because it seemed that there would likely be numerous benefits to McMurdo and Equipped to Survive Foundation cooperating to some degree or other in testing that would satisfy both parties, the Foundation had made this offer to McMurdo. McMurdo rejected this offer and the Foundation is planning its own independent tests of the upgraded beacons once they are available to the Foundation from consumer sources.

Doug Ritter, Executive Director of the Equipped To Survive Foundation, said, "unlike manufacturer conducted testing planned by McMurdo, the Foundation's independent live beacon testing can be relied upon to provide consumers with credible results upon which they can trust their lives."

The Foundation is commencing fund-raising activities to underwrite the cost of this testing.

A copy of McMurdo's advisory to its dealers can be found on the Equipped To Survive web site at: http://www.equipped.org/406_beacon_test_mcmurdo.htm. A detailed summary of the original 220-page evaluation report is available on the Equipped To Survive web site at: http://www.equipped.org/406_beacon_test_toc.htm.

The non-profit Equipped To Survive Foundation is dedicated to saving lives by raising awareness of potential survival emergencies, promoting preparedness as the key to surviving life-threatening circumstances, performing research and offering objective information to allow intelligent selection of effective survival equipment and supplies, providing education in practical survival techniques and procedures, and encouraging development of new and improved survival equipment, supplies and techniques. It publishes Equipped To Survive (www.equipped.org) as its primary educational outlet.

Contact: Doug Ritter


Executive Director: Doug Ritter
Email: Doug Ritter
URL: http://www.equipped.org/media/beacontest2004/pr_05122004.htm
First Published: May 12, 2004
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