People often ask me what are the most critical steps in starting or running an outdoor ministry. One of the first things I ask about is what kind of safety net will be set up for emergencies that come up in the wilderness? This week DeLorme launched a bit of outdoor gear that may be a game changer especially for start up outdoor ministries.
Cell towers and landlines cover only 10 percent of the Earth, but satellite networks reach pretty much everywhere. The inReach communicator relies on iridium and GPS satellite signals so users can send preloaded messages and allow designated contacts to track their travels. Pair it with an Android smartphone using the free DeLorme Earthmate app to compose and receive texts as well (Popular Science “Best of What’s New 2011”).
If you want to look into it, the inReach costs $249.95, and for a small monthly fee (starting at $10/month) you will have the capability to connect to the satellite through GPS and send and receive text messages while you are in the field.
Most outdoor ministries have some sort of check-in person in the front country who can be called in case of emergency. Now with the inReach technology, you can easily do a daily check in or text details of your emergency situation without having to buy or rent a satellite phone. Especially for start up outdoor ministries, this is a piece of outdoor gear that may be worth checking out.