Emergency Beacon

There are a few types of emergency alert beacons that SBCSAR responds to:

Emergency Locating Beacons (ELT) are carried in all aircraft to alert agencies of emergencies in case of crash.

In Santa Barbara County, the Sheriff’s Department has been designated as the responsible agency to track down and deal with ELT’s on the ground.  The Sheriff’s Department has tasked the Santa Barbara County Search and Rescue Team  to coordinate the location of these devices.

ELT’s today are more reliable and accurate than they were even 10 years ago, they will also transmit GPS coordinates to reduce a search area.  SBCSAR will still be required once the general area is determined to track down the specific signal by triangulating on the signal and determining if it’s a non- emergency or if it’s a real plane crash requiring additional EMS services.

Personal Locator Beacons (PLB)

A PLB is a hand-held satellite-communicating emergency location device, similar to the ELT’s mentioned above.   If the owner has registered the unit, their data is retrieved when the PLB is activated.  When activated, the transmitted data makes its way to the State Search and Rescue coordinator, and the county where it is determined the alert is coming from.


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