For over a decade, and through the use of Garmin inReach® satellite technology, groups and individuals have been able to stay connected; send and receive messages beyond the reach of traditional networks; navigate and share routes; and, in emergency situations, trigger SOS alerts to the Garmin Response coordination centre from various points across the globe.

Today, Garmin's SOS rescue operations and emergency response missions have changed the lives of more than 10,000 individuals after they triggered an SOS alert. Below is some key statistical data and analysis of SOS incidents from the past 11 years.

Where are SOS incidents triggered from?

garmin inreach incident map

When an emergency situation develops, the inReach device carrier can trigger an interactive SOS alert at the push of a button which is picked up by the 24/7 staffed Garmin Response Center. From there, staff are able to respond to the message and locate the position from where it originated. Coordinating with emergency services local to the device carrier's position, Garmin Response stays in touch with individuals until help arrives or they are no longer needed.

It is worth noting that the locations of SOS incidents reflect the power of the globally-reaching Iridium satellite network, the intel of inReach technology.

What are people doing when they trigger an SOS?

inreach activities sos

The majority of SOS triggers come from teams or individuals who are either hiking or backpacking. The second highest amount come from driving incidents where people need help at the roadside and they are outside of mobile phone coverage.

The top five activities that people are doing when they trigger an inReach SOS are:

  • Hiking/Backpacking
  • Driving 
  • Motorcycling
  • Climbing/Mountaineering
  • Boating

Other activities that inReach users have triggered an SOS for include snow sports, dirt biking, flying, rafting, off-roading, horseback riding and many others.

Why are people triggering an SOS?

inreach reasons for sos triggerOutdoor activities always come with a risk of an emergency situation, and the top reason for people triggering an inReach SOS call is injuries (broken bone or blunt force trauma after a fall), with the second most popular reaon being medical issues which could include anything from altitude sickness or heart problems among others.

The top five reasons people trigger an inReach SOS:

  • Injury
  • Medical issue
  • Vehicle accident
  • Stranded/Stuck
  • Vehicle issue

Other reasons include natural disasters such as wildfires, hurricanes and avalanches; becoming hypothermic or hyperthermic; being stuck, stranded or lost; and activity-based problems like vessel or vehicle issues and gear failure.

Who are people triggering an SOS for?

inreach who triggers sos calls

Anyone can trigger an SOS alert, and, while many emergency incidents are for inReach device carriers/subscribers, party members or an unknown third-party individual account for nearly two-thirds of SOS calls.

It is worth noting too that SOS alerts can be triggered to report natural disasters or emergencies such as wildfires or road traffic accidents.

We stock a range of Garmin inReach trackers which are ideal satellite companions for your next adventure beyond the reach mobile phone networks. As always, if you have any questions about Garmin trackers, our team of experts is on hand to help you out via:

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