With over 1 million visitors each year, Joshua Tree Nation Park is a popular sight for hikers, campers, bikers and backpackers. Containing portions of the Sonoran and Mojave Deserts, the park spans across 800,000 acres.
Like many national parks, visitors to Joshua Tree frequently spend their time camping, climbing boulders and exploring trails – which consequently can lead to accidents and injuries throughout the park. Although park rangers patrol the park 24/7, with elevations in the park ranging from a low of 536 feet to a high of 5,814 feet, the mountainous terrain and remote location of the park allow for very limited cell phone reception, if any at all. In addition, given the size of the park, it is impossible for the rangers to be accessible to all areas at once. Joshua Tree park rangers needed a way to quickly respond to emergencies and communicate with visitors and other public safety personnel in a timely manner.
KR Nida Communications, a commercial radio dealer of interoperable products for public safety customers, realized the critical need for providing park goers with quick and easy access to the park rangers and emergency services.
Using the G2 mobile satellite radio transceiver unit, a solar panel and a battery, KR Nida modified a standard emergency call box phone so that visitors can make calls to emergency responders if they are in trouble. Callers simply lift the receiver and the phone auto dials the sheriff’s office, which in turn dispatches the information to the park rangers. The use of mobile satellite communications service ensures park visitors have a reliable comms method to contact public safety personnel.
“In an emergency situation, it’s critical to know that the call box will work and someone will be on the other end,” said Alberto Casanova, Operations Manager for KR Nida. “We chose to use the G2 Mobile Satellite Radio, because it is 100 percent reliable and provides us an added degree of certainty.”
Currently the park has one satellite-enabled emergency call box located in a heavy traffic area, with plans to install a second later in 2010. Because of KR Nida’s creative use of satellite technology, Joshua Tree’s park rangers now have a reliable and simple means of communicating with each other during an emergency and visitors have an added level of assurance that they can communicate with someone in the event of an emergency.