Some of you maybe intrested in this article in Grough: http://www.grough.co.uk/magazine/201...rescue-beacons
It basically says PLB's are now avalible off the shelf and can be used in emergencies particulary in areas where phone comms are poor. We had a look at some of these units at work recently and they are really easy to use, you can even 'check in' to say your ok without setting off the alarm (model dependant).
They are quite expensive but no more so than a GPS unit for example.
A lot of Mountain Rescue callouts are searches, ie searching for a person at an unknown location. Having a PLB can dramatically reduce the time involved in rescuing an injured person and may possibly save a life.
The UK has a very robust Search and Rescue Organisation, for example no where in the UK is more than an 1 hours flying time away for a SAR helicopter and if they can't get in a landbased team will.
Obviously PLB's don't replace good hill and outdoor skills but if somthing does go wrong they could certainly make a big difference. Ed