Where’s Santa?: NORAD provides live tracking of Santa’s flight
Published 3:00 am Thursday, December 24, 2015
BY MICHAEL SHIPMA:
Boys and girls in Pike County should plan on being asleep by 9 p.m. on Christmas Eve this year, according to Lt. Marco Chouinard.
Chouinard, who is a lieutenant in the Canadian Royal Navy and a public affairs officer for the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, is one of 1,200 volunteers involved with helping people around the world to track Santa’s flight on Christmas Eve as he delivers his presents.
“Basically, on the 24th starting at 1:01 a.m. CST, people can visit the NORAD website and watch Santa make preparations for his flight,” he said. “Also, the NORAD Santa cam will be streaming video from the NORAD website of Santa as he passes over various locations.”
According to Chouinard and a recent NORAD press release, children can countdown to Santa’s flight, as well as track his location throughout the night in a number of different ways. Starting on Christmas Eve, Windows phone users can ask Cortana where Santa is, as well as inquiries via the OnStar button that users have. “Official NORAD Tracks Santa apps are also available in Windows, Apple, and Google Play stores, so parents and children can countdown the days until Santa’s launch on their smart phone and tablets. Tracking opportunities are also offered on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+. Santa followers just need to type ‘@noradsanta’ into each search engine to get started.”
Chouinard said that kids looking to receive presents this year should be on their best behavior and should be in bed before he arrives.
“Santa is the master of his own journey,” he said. “But generally he’ll show up between 9 p.m. and midnight. However, he only stops if the kids are in bed. If they’re not, he’ll fly over and go to the next houses on his list until they’re in bed.”
Starting at 5 a.m. CST, kids and parents alike who want to keep track of Santa’s trip can either dial the toll-free number 1-877-HI-NORAD (1-877-446-6723) or send a request for Santa’s whereabouts to email@example.com. Chouinard said that even if you don’t receive a response immediately, keep trying, as lines will be very busy.
In December 2014, NORAD’s website had 21.8 million visits from people from 234 countries and territories across the globe. In addition, NORAD received over 134,000 calls and more than 6,500 emails.
NORAD, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary of tracking Santa’s journey this year, is partnered with over 70 organizations that assist with anything from the maintenance of the tacking apps to answering the phone calls and graphics teams.
The tradition first started in 1955 when an advertisement from Sears Roebuck & Co. in Colorado Springs, Colorado, mistakenly advertised the number for the Continental Air Defense Command (now NORAD) as Santa’s. The number went directly to a line used only by important U.S. officials such as the president and the secretary of state.
Col. Harry Shoup was the one to answer the first of many calls to that line asking for Santa, and instructed his staff to check their military radars for Santa’s progress south from the North Pole.
He instructed his staff to then report back to kids that had called with Santa’s location, and thus starting the tradition.
“It’s really great for us to be able to volunteer,” Chouinard said about himself and the other NORAD volunteers. “It’s fun to be able to do this for the kids and others from around the world.”