Family urges farmers to use locator beacons

By Christine McKay -
1 comment
R Dannevirke's Harold Orsborn is at home after surgery to implant a pacemaker.
R Dannevirke's Harold Orsborn is at home after surgery to implant a pacemaker.

Taking a personal locator beacon out with you on the farm could be a life-saver Dannevirke's Emily Mott believes.

Last week Emily's father Harold Orsborn underwent surgery to have a pacemaker inserted after he collapsed while moving stock at his farm at Ngapaeruru.

"He collapsed on the road and if Baz (Emily's husband Basil) wasn't there, dad may not be here now," Emily said.

"Dad and Baz were walking the cows, with dad following behind when he collapsed and ended up with a mouth full of stones."

Emily said a locator beacon had been discussed but dismissed, but now the family is urging people to realise what a life-saver they are.

"You just don't know what could happen," Emily said.

"People need to be prepared. What do you do in the case of an emergency?

"Where would we start looking on a 1000-acre farm? The ripple effect of this on our family is huge. Everyone is affected."

Emily has been at the forefront of pushing for safety on farms following a quad bike accident in which she suffered a severe head injury.

The accident, which dramatically changed life for her and her family in September 2007, was just eight weeks after she married Baz.

When the Agricultural Sector Action Plan was launched at Parliament in 2012, Emily spoke about her experience, fronting the farm safety campaign and she's now preparing farm safe guidelines for the family property.

Now, with her father home recovering from his surgery, all of the family are urging people to consider using personal locator beacons as part of their on-farm safety.

Mike Hill, manager of the Rescue Co-ordinator Centre of New Zealand (RCCNZ), said the number of beacons registered in the RCCNZ database increased by more than 11,000 last year to 62,241.

"It is not just boaties, but also more trampers, mountain bikers, hunters, climbers and people working in isolated areas who are realising a beacon may save their life," he said.

"We co-ordinate about 850 search and rescue incidents each year, rescuing people and saving lives.

"Many responses begin with a distress beacon being activated. They are one of the most reliable ways of signalling that you are in distress."

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