GPS System Aids Calif. Crews in Trail Rescues

SAN DIEGO -- A new GPS system could help improve rescue response times by as much as half an hour at Mission Trails Regional Park, according to fire officials. In the past 12 months, the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department...


SAN DIEGO --

A new GPS system could help improve rescue response times by as much as half an hour at Mission Trails Regional Park, according to fire officials.

In the past 12 months, the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department has dispatched personnel to the park 41 times to assist injured hikers, and officials say one of the biggest challenges is finding the victims.

Now, that could change.

Several signs along Climber's Loop Trail at the park were installed. According to fire personnel, the exact location of each sign was identified and recorded using GPS. Now, if a person is injured in that area, he or she can call 911, tell dispatchers which sign is close by and fire crews will know where to respond.

"The responding crews will get an exact location and it takes away a lot of the guess work," said San Diego Fire-Rescue Battalion Chief Ben Castro.

Firefighters ran a drill Thursday morning to test out the new system. During the drill, they responded to a mock rescue using the signs that were now imported into the firefighters' computers. Castro said the drill ran smoothly.

One of the most recent rescues was just a few days ago. On Sunday, Travis Morein fell about 15 feet during a climb with his friends. Morein's sister, Wendy Moynihan, spoke to 10News from the phone in Florida and said her brother suffered several broken ribs, a cut to his head and a punctured lung.

"It's a really scary feeling. He's my only sibling he's my world," Moynihan said.

Right now, the 11 signs are only installed along Climber's Loop, but it will be added to two more popular trails in the near future.

Do you have more information about this story? Click here to contact usCopyright 2011 by 10News.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.