Mobile Future

Cell phones provide hikers an added safety net

Hiker using a cell phone on top of a mountain

Two hikers in Garin Regional Park, east of San Francisco, found out just how helpful their cell phone could be when they got lost after dark in a rugged area.

Using the GPS coordinates from the hiker’s cell phone, a California Highway Patrol helicopter was able to identify their location and rescue the pair.

Lt. Dave Dubowy, a patrol watch commander in the Bay Area said:

“We tell people to always have a cell phone with [them]. Technology is wonderful now. The GPS capabilities make our jobs so much easier.”

According to Dubowy, at least one hiker a week will get lost during peak months. He suggests that if you get lost while hiking, you should call 911 immediately for help. If you cannot find a signal, Dubowy recommends climbing to a higher elevation.

“Stay put after you’ve contacted police,” Dubowy said. “It’s easier for us to find you, rather than have you stumbling around in the dark.”