July 31, 2007 In remote emergency situations, simply being located quickly by response teams can mean the difference between life and death. For example if you’re trapped under debris and found within 30 minutes, you’ve got a 50% chance of survival. Make that three hours and nine out of ten victims will die. Small, lightweight emergency beacons are a simple solution to this equation, but they haven’t proven economically attractive yet. Now in a socially conscious move aimed at invigorating the industry, a global Russian electronics firm has made its emergency beacon designs and expertise available free of charge.

Electronics Design Company, Tancher Corporation, will give away for free the design rights to its life saving personal locator radio beacon to help Australians caught in emergencies.

The US and Russian-based company developed the tiny beacon as part of the Tancher Electronics Social Safety Initiative (TESSI), which encourages government and industry to make life saving devices more accessible.

The beacon, which also doubles as a USB flash memory, is worn on the wrist and, when activated, emits a distress signal helping rescue teams to quickly locate the wearer.

Widespread access to such devices is critically important. Research shows people trapped under debris who are found within 30 minutes have a 50% chance of survival compared with less than 10% for those found after three hours (Russian Ministry of Force Major Situations.)

Emergencies have a big impact in Australia with State Emergency Services (SES) units undertaking close to 600,000 hours responding to disasters and search and rescue operations in 2006.

Tancher President, Dr Anton Tyruin, said the company was using TESSI to highlight the need for such devices to be made available to the public.

“This beacon will assist authorities locate missing bushwalkers or those trapped under debris caused by explosions, cave-ins and earthquakes,” Dr Tyruin said.

“The lack of availability of these devices is not due to large design and production expenses but because many businesses do not consider the safety industry commercially attractive.”

“In order to rectify the situation we’ve decided to give away the design rights to our beacon in the hope that organisations or governments will produce the beacon and make it widely available.”

Tancher hopes other companies will support its initiative and the ongoing development of such life saving devices.

“Eventually we hope to create a network of organisations to contribute to the design process of similar devices and will assist authorities to develop life-saving and rescue technology,” Dr Tyruin said.