Personal safety device Anderson’s passion

Mountain Peak Productions’ Trent Anderson. Photo: supplied.
Mountain Peak Productions’ Trent Anderson. Photo: supplied.
Being rescued in the outdoors is a topic close to Trent Anderson’s heart.

When Mr Anderson was 7, he slipped and fell off a cliff at Karitane. Badly hurt — including sustaining a serious head injury — he was rescued by helicopter pilot Graeme Gale.

His parents did not know if he was going to walk again or "do stuff like a normal kid" and he had to learn again how to do many things.

But Mr Anderson (28) never let it hold him back and, just a few years later, he was surfing at the national championships. It was a major factor as to why he was so determined, he said.

Now his focus is on another passion; Mountain Peak Productions, a company he has established with wife Tonelle to help with safety of those in the outdoors.

That included developing a device which he believed could lead to people being rescued much more quickly.

As a professional hunting guide, he happened to be in the Mt Cook area standing above a bluff.

He had a personal locator beacon clipped to his waist but he began thinking that if he fell and could not press the button on the beacon to raise the alarm, then he "may as well not carry it".

Mountain Peak Productions started originally with the idea of a hunter safety device — alerting of others nearby — but discovered it was not financially viable and it got put on the backburner.

After his Mt Cook moment, and with the technology still "sitting there", Mr Anderson decided to use it for a different product.

Dunedin company Tussock Innovation was used for engineering and Queenstown company 4DESIGN for the design work.

A system was developed that did not require a button to be pushed on a device. Rather, it ran off a system that continuously worked so, if someone did not return, their number could be entered into a master device and a helicopter dispatched to find them.

The device allowed an "enormous area" to be searched in an extremely short time from a helicopter, he said.

If weather conditions were unsuitable for a helicopter, then a ground device could be used.

If people went missing and did not have a personal locator beacon, then the rescue usually involved an "enormous" number of people, putting others’ lives at risks, often in bad conditions, he said.

Ultimately, he hoped the device could be run alongside a personal locator beacon; it was not trying to overtake it.

Mr Anderson, who has also worked as a shepherd and a ranger, is now working for a friend who has a fencing contracting business.

Working anywhere from Middlemarch to Palmerston, Outram and Dunedin, he was on-site at 7.30am, finishing at 5.30pm before heading home.

Often, he was sitting on the computer working on Mountain Peak Productions until midnight but he shrugged that off, saying "when you have a passion, it’s not work.

"I didn’t sleep when I was developing the idea and concept. I went three to four days without sleep whatsoever.

"I’d really love to see it just roll out and really help people. The day that it saves a person’s life, I reckon I’ll just be a wreck."

Having put "a lot of blood, sweat and tears" into the project, Mr Anderson said it was now at the critical stage where he needed to get some public support.

He was about to start a PledgeMe crowdfunding campaign. He had working prototypes that had been tested but there was still some more development and design work to be done.

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